Classics

Subject Overview

Students of the classical languages of Latin and Greek are uniquely able to gain direct access to the culture, history, literature and thought of civilisations which have inspired later generations.  

Latin at SMH begins in Figures, and continues through Ruds and into LG, with the opportunity to begin the language in Ruds or LG; Greek is introduced in a taster course for LG. Each language is available to GCSE, A level and IB. The languages are not easy, but Stonyhurst pupils achieve excellent results, and the satisfaction that comes from success should not be underestimated: our pupils often enjoy the intellectual challenge! Pupils learn to read and appreciate original literature, engaging with cultures that have much in common with our own yet at the same time are very different. 

Both languages thus help learners to develop skills and intellectual flexibility which will be useful for a wide range of other subjects and careers: classicists are certainly not just found in academia, but in every industry, up to and including board level. Indeed, NASA sees the value of classical knowledge and training in understanding how to develop interfaces between humans and autonomous systems! 

Curriculum

Key Stage 3 (Year 9)

We use the Cambridge Latin Course. Pupils learn vocabulary and see the connections between Latin and modern European languages; knowledge of grammar develops precision and an analytical approach to language generally; and these skills in turn enable pupils to read sustained passages of Latin, thereby also learning about Roman culture and civilisation. 

Pupils who have studied this course throughout Key Stage 3 (years 7 and 8) can continue the course in year 9, however, it is also possible for pupils to begin Latin at this stage, in preparation for GCSE or as a one year language enrichment experience.  

Pupils begin to develop an analytical approach to language generally, including an awareness of the relationship between Latin and the languages of today. They do so in the context of learning about ordinary human beings living in a very different time and place, but with much that is recognisable to us. 

Greek is introduced alongside Latin for the most able linguists in Lower Grammar (Year 9), further enhancing linguistic, analytical and communication skills and providing a rare opportunity for intellectual enrichment. 

GCSE (Years 10 & 11)

Language skills and reading of stories based on classical history, culture and mythology continue seamlessly from KS3 to KS4. 

There is one language paper at GCSE, comprising 50% of the total; this tests translation and comprehension skills from Latin / Greek into English. 

Classical languages are unique at this level in introducing pupils to unadapted literature from celebrated authors such as Ovid, Cicero, Virgil, Herodotus, and Homer. Two papers test knowledge and literary appreciation of selections from prose and verse authors, prepared in advance. The majority of the Syntax year is devoted to preparation of these texts which in recent years have included an eye witness account of the eruption of Vesuvius, stories about the childhood of Persian kings and scenes from the Aeneid or Odyssey.. 

GCSE Latin 
The specification followed is WJEC EDUQAS.

  • Language paper:  1 hour 30 minutes (50% of the total GCSE). 
  • Latin Literature and Sources: 1 hour 15 minutes (30% of the total GCSE). This is an open-book assessment (the Latin text plus vocabulary are provided). 
  • Latin Literature themes: 45 minutes (20% of the total GCSE). 

Read more about this course here.

GCSE Greek 

The specification followed is OCR.

  • Language paper: 1 hour 30 minutes (50% of the total GCSE). 
  • 2 literature papers (1 prose author and 1 verse author): 1 hour exam (each component is worth 25% of the total GCSE). 

Read more about this course here.

 

One Year Pre-IB GCSE

Pupils who have previously studied Latin and / or Greek are able to continue in the pre-IB year. 

This will prepare them to study the language(s) in Higher Line at Stonyhurst or serve as a one year integrated course. This year will enable pupils to read a range of authors while further developing language skills.

Please see the GCSE tab for more information on course content.

A Level (sixth form)

The study of classical languages assists in the development of good communication skills. Universities and employers value the subjects for the skills that they develop and as a sign of an individual who has made a less common choice of subject to study. 

The opportunity to study Greek is rare, particularly at sixth form level. We are also fortunate to have access to the Stonyhurst Collections: particularly valuable for IB Internal Assessment, but equally a resource for all pupils. 

Teachers in the department are always willing to encourage any particular interests pupils might have, from Greek mythology to Roman medicine. Sixth form pupils are able to attend talks by university lecturers in Manchester, and at Stonyhurst’s Senior Essay Society. Trips have included Rome, London, and theatre performances; we have also invited visiting theatre companies to Stonyhurst. These enrichment events often take place in conjunction with other subject areas. Both IB and A level courses build on progress made at GCSE or equivalent, and so a good pass at this level is required. 

At A level, the balance between language and literature is maintained, with greater opportunities to read from a range of unadapted texts, including Cicero, Virgil, Catullus, Livy and Ovid in Latin, and Homer, Xenophon, Plato, Thucydides and tragedy in Greek. 

The curriculum followed for Classics at Stonyhurst are: Latin (OCR H443) and Greek (OCR H444) 

The structure for each language is the same, with two language and two literature examinations:

  • Unseen Translation: 1 hour 45 minutes (33% of total A-Level).
  • Prose Composition or Comprehension: 1 hour 15 minutes (17% of total A-Level).
  • Prose Literature: 2 hours (25% of total A-Level).
  • Verse Literature: 2 hours (25% of total A-Level).

IB Diploma (sixth form)

The study of classical languages assists in the development of good communication skills. Universities and employers value the subjects for the skills that they develop and as a sign of an individual who has made a less common choice of subject to study. 

The opportunity to study Greek is rare, particularly at sixth form level. We are also fortunate to have access to the Stonyhurst Collections: particularly valuable for IB Internal Assessment, but equally a resource for all pupils. 

Teachers in the department are always willing to encourage any particular interests pupils might have, from Greek mythology to Roman medicine. Sixth form pupils are able to attend talks by university lecturers in Manchester, and at Stonyhurst’s Senior Essay Society. Trips have included Rome, London, and theatre performances; we have also invited visiting theatre companies to Stonyhurst. These enrichment events often take place in conjunction with other subject areas. Both IB and A level courses build on progress made at GCSE or equivalent, and so a good pass at this level is required. 

When selected as part of the IB Diploma, language and literature are joined by an Internal Assessment component, which gives pupils a free choice of topic for investigation. 

The structure is the same for both Latin and Greek: 

  • Paper 1 language (35% of total) 
  • Paper 2 literature (45% of total) 
  • Internal Assessment (research dossier), produced in the middle section of the course, with lesson time and guidance; this is internally marked and externally moderated (20%) 

Under the current specification, the principle difference between Standard and Higher Level is the length of language passage for translation, the length of the research dossier, and the range of literature to be studied: Higher Line pupils read a larger number of lines, and answer a synoptic question (in English) to show understanding of the full text studied.