The Leys

Classics

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The Classics Department, based in the Clapham Building, includes Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation options.

Years 7 - 9

Pupils in Years 7 and 8 study Latin for two periods a week. They follow the Cambridge Latin course and are introduced to the cultural and historical background of Pompeii, Roman Britain and Roman Egypt. For many, Latin lessons are their first introduction to the teaching of formal grammar.

Pupils entering Year 9 opt for Latin or Classical Civilisation. The aim of the Latin course is to enable all pupils, regardless of their previous learning, to carry on to GCSE if they wish. The aim of the Classical Civilisation course is to give pupils a flavour of the ancient world by studying major figures such as Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, learning the story of the Trojan War, and reflecting how these stories have been preserved in archaeology and history writing. Towards the end of the year, the most able linguists may opt to study Classical Greek at GCSE and they have some taster sessions during the summer term to this end.


GCSE Latin & Greek

Latin and Classical Greek at GCSE are linguistically demanding but within reach of all Leys candidates. The opportunity to study set texts in the original languages is unique and provides a considerable boost to the pupils’ analytical skills. There is a continued stress on linguistic rigour and it is necessary to think about English words derived from Latin and Greek roots in order to succeed fully in the examinations. Studying Latin makes learning the Romance languages (French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese) far easier.

GCSE Classical Civilisation

This subject makes the Classical world accessible to all, since no knowledge of the Greek or Latin languages is required. Drawing on topics from both Civilisation and Literature, the GCSE is interdisciplinary, challenging candidates to respond to original source material in a variety of contexts.

People who cannot distinguish between good and bad language, or who regard the distinction as unimportant, are unlikely to think carefully about anything else.

B.R. Myers

A Level

All three subjects test similar skills as GCSE, but in greater depth and complexity.

A range of authors in both Latin and Greek introduce the pupils to the finest literature. In Classical Civilisation, acute critical skills are honed by the 'Women in Athens and Rome' topic, while the Iliad, Aeneid and Greek Tragedy papers engage by means of profound stories and challenging encounters with the values of societies very different, but at times similar, to our own.

Every year postgraduates from the University of Cambridge offer extension classes, sometimes individually, to the most engaged pupils. Recent activities outside the classroom have included trips to Italy, to the British Museum and to the theatre to see Greek tragedies performed.

Those who study, or have studied, classical subjects are valued in Higher Education and by employers because they demonstrate a diverse skills set. Latin and Classical Greek in particular are evidence of considerable linguistic ability, and all three subjects require the ability to reflect on evidence and write about it convincingly.


More Information: 

Latin

GCSE

Candidates sit four papers, which are Language Translation, Language Comprehension, Prose Literature and Verse Literature.

Latin GCSE offers a number of attractions. Pupils are able to study the major authors of Latin literature in their original language. The set texts are carefully prepared before the examination. As for the study of the language, it is undoubtedly demanding but also interesting and fun, forcing pupils to be rigorous and methodical in their approach. A word list eases the burden of revision for the Language paper. The study of Latin provides an invaluable grounding in appreciating the structures of language. It is therefore an invaluable support to the study of English and other modern languages. Those who might later specialise in STEM subjects also benefit from the breadth of learning and culture which Latin GCSE offers.


A Level

Pupils take four papers at A Level. The skills tested are exactly the same as at GCSE but pupils extend the depth and range of their knowledge. The papers are: Unseen Translation, Comprehension, Prose Literature and Verse Literature.

A Level Latinists develop their linguistic and analytical skills. Rigour is at a premium, and Latinists have a well deserved reputation for precision. Latin is profitably studied alongside many other subjects.

Classical Civilisation

GCSE

This subject makes the Classical world accessible to all, since no knowledge of the Greek or Latin languages is required. Drawing on topics from both Civilisation and Literature, the GCSE is interdisciplinary, challenging candidates to respond to original source material in a variety of contexts.

Our pupils currently study Homer’s Odyssey, City Life in Rome, and Community Life in Sparta (or Pompeii) in Year 10. In Year 11, pupils write a 2000 word essay on The Olympic Games and then spend the rest of the year revising the Year 10 topics. Teachers always invite pupils to go beyond factual knowledge and form their own personal responses and evaluations. This often leads to interesting comparisons and contrasts with the modern world.


A Level

The reformed specification in this subject is not being introduced until September 2017 and therefore pupils will be following the current syllabus, which includes taking AS at the end of the Lower Sixth.

Pupils study topics from Greek and Roman Literature and Civilisation. All texts and sources are in English translations from the Classical languages. At AS level, pupils study two modules: Women in Athens and Rome, and The Iliad. Pupils study two further modules at A Level: Greek Tragedy and Roman Epic.

Classical Greek

GCSE

Candidates sit four papers, which are Language Translation, Language Comprehension, Prose Literature and Verse Literature.

Authors currently studied for the set texts are Homer and Herodotus. Candidates are thus introduced to the foundational works of European literature in the original language. Classical Greek is intellectually satisfying and stretches pupils in a way that few, if any, other subjects do.


A Level

Pupils take four papers at A Level. The skills tested are exactly the same as at GCSE but pupils extend the depth and range of their knowledge. The papers are: Unseen Translation, Comprehension, Prose Literature and Verse Literature.

As at GCSE, Greek is a demanding subject and therefore highly respected by universities.

Staff

  • Mr Alex Welby BA (Oxon) - Head of Classics
  • Mrs Elaine Culshaw MA (Cantab) - Classics Teacher
  • Mr Timothy Roe - Classics Teacher
  • Mrs Elizabeth Bonnaud MA - French & Classics Teacher

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01223 508900

The Leys School

Cambridge

CB2 7AD

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