Classics & Latin

We believe in the fundamental importance of providing girls with a traditional Classical education, providing a solid foundation for a range of further studies. Lessons are taught in our own suite of rooms and the department is keen to promote taught and independent study of the Classical World.

To this end, it offers a number of opportunities outside the curriculum on both a regular and ad hoc basis, including Classics Club, Ancient Greek Club and Symposium, a jint society with the Boys’ school offering a platform for KS4 and KS5 students to present their own research on the wider ancient world. We are also working with the Liverpool Classics Hub to offer a series of professional speaker events.

We also like to extend pupil learning beyond the classroom with regular educational visits abroad (Greece, Rome and the Bay of Naples being favourites), trips to the British museum in London, the annual festival of Greek drama, the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, and theatre productions.

Lower School

A Classical education is compulsory in the Lower School. The exposure to mythology and ideology which underpins the canon of Western learning and the academic rigour instilled by studying Classical Civilisation and Latin raise pupils’ performance in every area of the curriculum. We are proud to offer a blend of the traditional and modern approaches to teaching.

In Year 7 girls begin their investigations into the mythology, culture and beliefs of the ancient Greeks. Storytelling is still one of the most powerful means of communication and we consider delivery and interpretation in our lessons. In the second half of the year, girls are introduced to the Latin language.

In Year 8 all girls study Latin following the exciting new course Suburani. This follows a similar structure to the familiar favourite Cambridge Latin Course, combining language work with the study of life in ancient Rome. The stories have been updated for a modern audience, following the life of a girl called Sabina from central Rome to Gaul and Hispania. Along the way we meet characters from the wider empire as they live through dramatic events such as the Great Fire of Rome and the turbulent revolt of Boudicca!

In Year 9 girls are able to choose to continue Latin and/or Classical Civilisation. Our departmental course prepares students for GCSE-level study through a range of topics such as the concept of heroism, the nature of the Roman gods and a wide range of mythology.

GCSE Latin

We follow the OCR specification for GCSE Latin. This course builds on the language work undertaken in Year 9 and offers pupils the opportunity of reading some of Europe’s oldest literature in the original language.

It consists of one language paper and two literature papers. Girls are taught the language material in Year 10, while Year 11 is primarily dedicated to the study of set texts. This involves exploring modest selections from the great canon of Roman literature in the original language, comprising poetry and prose. A sensitive and analytical approach to literature is developed, and girls gain an insight into rhetorical techniques and devices.

Latin offers girls the opportunity to develop a range of valuable skills through the fascinating filter of the ancient world and provides a satisfying intellectual challenge through the mental gymnastics of solving unseen translations. Girls develop the key transferable skill of problem solving, attention to detail and following logical thought processes.

Through analysing ancient literature, they develop a sensitivity to language and appreciation of nuance and subtlety. They also hone an ability to quickly extract, analyse and evaluate relevant information as they read about the weird and wonderful world of the Romans, from fantastical mythology to courageous individuals and crazy emperors!

GCSE Classical Civilisation

We follow the OCR specification for GCSE Classical Civilisation. This course involves the study of ancient literature in translation and exploring aspects of Greek and Roman history and society.

Girls make their subject choices at the end of Year 9 and may take on Classical Civilisation regardless of whether they have studied the subject previously. Pupils with no prior knowledge are in no way disadvantaged since the course is taught ab initio.

It consists of two written papers, each worth 90 marks and lasting 1 hour 30 minutes.

In Paper 1 ‘Myth and Religion’ we study popular gods and myths of the Greeks and Romans, and the important part which religion and festivals played in everyday life.
Paper 2 ‘The Homeric World’ looks at the culture and archaeology of Mycenaean Greece (the time of the mythical Trojan War) and we pair this study with a close reading of select books of Homer’s Odyssey.

Classical Civilisation is a fascinating area of study, which stimulates girls’ imaginations and develops their core skills. They have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of topics, from fantastical mythology and adventure to the gritty realities of everyday life in the past.

The ancient societies of Greece and Rome played a vital part in the development of the literature, thought and culture of modern Europe. Learning about how people lived, what they thought important and what they achieved in the ancient world helps girls to make sense of the modern one.

As Classical Civilisation is not offered at many schools, it helps students to stand out from the crowd and also gives them a wide range of transferable skills which are essential to further study and highly valued by universities and employers.

A Level Latin

Throughout the A-Level Latin course, girls continue to develop their language skills to a point where they are able to tackle complex unseen passages with confidence and flair. This challenging skill takes time and dedication but as study develops, girls become more attuned to using words with precision and pertinence and enjoy the various positive effects this has on their wider studies.

The course encompasses some of the world’s greatest literature in the original language, with girls now no longer dependent on the nuanced translations of others and able to hear the author’s voice for themselves.

Imagine listening to the rhetoric of Cicero as he lambasts the Senatorial jury to side with his argument. Swoon when Catullus whispers to you of life’s precious brevity and the need to find pleasure in human contact as a ward against despair.

Enrichment opportunities abound within Latin, including trips to Italy, Greece, London, various museums and theatres throughout the course. We also regularly share talks and ideas in our Symposium jointly with the Boys’ School, giving girls the opportunity to develop independent research and presentation skills while discovering more about the wider ancient world beyond the curriculum.

A Level Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation teaching is shared with the Boys’ School; the co-educational learning experience fosters a diverse and varied range of opinions on topical issues when studying literary texts.

There is no prerequisite knowledge required for A-level Classical Civilisation, although a GCSE can be helpful.

Literature and ancient history are at the heart of the A-level course.

Students study epic poetry (Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid), philosophy and Greek art. Students will be expected to study, discuss, think about and form judgements on the works on the specification. An appetite for reading and for seminar-style exploration is welcome and we encourage lively debate.
Students acquire important transferable skills such as analysing sources and developing independent, critical and evaluative approaches.

Enrichment opportunities abound within Classical Civilisation, including trips to Italy, Greece, London, various museums and theatres throughout the course. We also regularly share talks and ideas in our Symposium jointly with the Boys’ School, giving girls the opportunity to develop independent research and presentation skills while discovering more about the wider ancient world beyond the curriculum.