The study of Classics encompasses Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation, and gives the opportunity to study the language, literature and culture of the Classical world – helping to make sense of the world as it is today.

Head of Department: Mrs Lydia Dakin

Latin is taught as part of the core curriculum, being compulsory in the first two years. We follow the Cambridge Latin Course, which encourages pupils to read quite substantial stories in Latin from the start, combining the systematic introduction of syntax and vocabulary with information about the daily life of Romans across the Empire.

Pupils have the opportunity to add Greek to their studies in Upper Fourth (Year 9), when they can learn the alphabet and the basic linguistic structures for three lessons a week, before commencing the GCSE course.

Both Latin and Greek can be studied at GCSE level, where the skills of translation and comprehension are enhanced by the literary study of prose and verse texts written by some of the great Roman and Greek authors.

Pupils are able to pursue their love of Classical language and literature into the Sixth Form, where we offer both Latin and Greek for the OCR AS and A Level qualifications. A wide range of texts is studied alongside the texts set for examination, so that pupils gain an insight into the history and culture of the Greeks and Romans through contemporary writing. The skills which are practised during the Sixth Form are those of close analysis, accuracy, fluency, essay writing and the consideration of historical and political context, all of which will stand the pupils in good stead for any university course.

In addition, we offer the opportunity for pupils who are interested in and fascinated by the Classical world but who do not wish to continue their linguistic studies to undertake an Advanced Level course in Classical Civilisation in the Sixth Form. They study Roman and Greek history, literature and culture but all the texts are in English.

Trips and events form a major part of the Classics Calendar as we facilitate trips to Classics lectures and organise special classical cultural days at School.

Many of our Classics students continue their studies at university and, as Classics graduates, are sought after in a wide variety of professions, such as Law, Accountancy, Management and the Arts.

Full details of the curriculum can be found in the GCSE and Sixth Form options publications or from the Head of Department, Mrs Lydia Dakin

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The best way to find out more about Downe House, is to come and experience it for yourself – arrange a visit or join us for one of our Open Mornings?