Classics is the study of either or both of the Latin & Classical Greek languages. Uncommonly for language study in Britain at GCSE, Latin and Greek GCSE both require consideration and study of literature as well – that is to say, one of the most important aspects of any culture – their stories.
The Christ’s Hospital Classics department is fortunate to have 3 full-time specialists teaching in it. All pupils study Latin in years 7 & 8, as a solid grounding for both their English and modern foreign language learning (Latin has been repeatedly shown to assist these subjects) and to give them a grounding in and understanding of the two most important cultures in the development and at the heart of western civilisation.
Numbers are strong – between 30 and 40 pupils study Latin to GCSE and 5-15 to A-level. In addition we usually have an IB set of 5-10 pupils. Greek GCSE sets average between 5 and 10 pupils.
Pupils have no problem understanding the reasons for and importance of studying Latin and Greek. We teach them in a traditional way, making use of modern techniques and technology where appropriate. We focus on meticulous learning of grammar and syntax, whilst encouraging co-operative learning, as both an end in itself and a gateway to understanding and appreciating the great texts of the Classical world such as Homer, Vergil, Ovid and Herodotus.
Employers and university admissions tutors maintain a very favourable view of Latin and Greek as qualifications and of the success of Christ’s Hospital students in them. Over the past six years, nine Christ’s Hospital students have gained places at Oxford or Cambridge to study Classics, as well as many others at other universities.