Head of Department: Mr Chris Taylor email@example.com
Sevenoaks School has one of the largest and most flourishing Classics Departments in the country. Six members of the teaching staff run courses in Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation throughout the school from Year 7, through GCSE, to the IB Diploma and university entrance.
As a department we believe that the education of everyone is enriched by the study of the language, literature and culture of the Classical world. From the study of the Latin or Greek language, a student develops a sensitive and analytical approach to language generally, and is permitted close access to the literature and thought of Classical civilisations which have had a profound influence on the history, ideas, politics, institutions, drama, and artistic achievements of Western Europe and beyond.
Years 7 & 8
All pupils entering the school aged 11 study Latin; we follow the Cambridge Latin course, which offers a lively introduction to the Roman world, along with the elementary stages of the Latin language. By the beginning of Year 9 all pupils will have a sound linguistic basis for their study of Latin.
Year 9 and GCSE
All students at Sevenoaks study Latin in Year 9. Those who enter the school aged 13 with some knowledge of Latin will continue with the subject at an appropriate level. Students who have not had the opportunity to study Latin before join an accelerated ‘ab initio’ Latin group, and many of these pupils decide to continue the subject at GCSE.
Greek is started in Year 9 by those students who have shown aptitude and enthusiasm for Classical languages, usually alongside Latin. In both Greek and Latin we put emphasis on the acquisition of a rapid, accurate reading knowledge of the languages while insisting at the same time on the essential precision which is so much a part of the “old” approach. We believe, too, that pupils should absorb much about the culture both Greece and Rome as well as their languages. To this end the department arranges a field visit, usually for Year 10 students, each year to Pompeii, and occasionally to Greece. The OCR GCSE course in both Latin and Greek is a blend of the Cambridge Latin course and a more traditional approach, combining the best of both worlds.
In Year 10 and 11 we also offer a GCSE course in Classical Civilisation. This is a non-linguistic course which aims to give a picture of the Greek and Roman worlds. We do this by emphasising primary sources (literature, graffiti, inscriptions and archaeological artefacts); hence a lot of visual material is used during lessons. One of the prime aims of this course is to teach the skill of evaluating evidence. Topics studied include Homer’s Odyssey, Roman Social Life (religion, slavery, baths, gladiators etc.), the Olympic Games and Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
In the Sixth Form the Department offers Latin, Greek and Greek & Roman Studies at IB. The literature in our Greek and Latin courses is studied according to genres (Satire, Comedy, Tragedy, History etc.) and, most importantly, we seek to establish links with modern literature on the grounds that most European literature has its prototype in the ancient world. The Department often runs a trip to Rome for a week in the June of the Lower Sixth, which gives IB pupils a feeling for the development of Rome and the way in which the Latin literature studied fits into that development. The Department also seeks to provide an opportunity to visit Greece with the same aims.
The International Baccalaureate courses in both Latin and Greek lay particular emphasis on:
- The appreciation of ancient literature
- An awareness of the social and historical context in which that literature was written
- The acquisition of a linguistic fluency in order to read the literature in the original languages
Importance is attached to the influence of the ancient world upon the modern in literature, art and institutions. The assessment structure of both courses includes two examined papers (an unseen language paper and a literature paper testing students’ understanding of their set texts) and an internally assessed piece of coursework in the form of a ‘research dossier’ – a collection of primary sources on a topic chosen by the candidate.
The Department also offers a Greek and Roman Studies course at Standard Level. A rich mixture of both Greek and Roman topics is studied, some concentrating on literature, others on particular historical periods. No knowledge of Latin or Greek is required for this course, and it sits within the Humanities block (Group 3) of the IB Diploma.
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