Why Study Classics?
"But nobody actually speaks Latin, so why do we have to learn it?" This is the most common question asked by those beginning to learn Latin. The truth is that there is a multitude of reasons why the study of Latin is important.
Latin is the first subject we do in life entirely for its own sake. A degree at university in Classics leads to almost any job in the world. It gives one a disinterestedness in the study of any subject. Disinterestedness is not being uninterested. Quite the opposite: it is a love of studying without any practical result intended - and it gives the soul a peace, an inner control, a quiet joy beyond words.
Through reading fantastic stories, which have graced the scripts of many a Hollywood blockbuster, students of Latin are able to develop an understanding of grammar, literary style, politics, philosophy, and the discipline of a logical approach to textual analysis.
When studying Latin at King's, pupils learn to achieve fluency in reading the Latin Language. They visit sites and museums, both within the UK and Europe, and welcome speakers from universities such as Oxford and Exeter to speak on a wide range of topics related to the Ancient World.
Latin in Third Form and GCSE
In the Third Form, pupils in 3A or 3B are offered the opportunity to study Latin, either as a beginner or as someone who has already been learning for a year or more. During the year, all pupils follow “Latin to GCSE” by Henry Cullen and John Taylor, at a pace which allows them to develop or consolidate their understanding of Latin. The course also offers the opportunity to study the story of The Aeneid by Virgil.
Latin is a popular option at GCSE and there are usually a number who start studying the language in Third Form and continue through to GCSE. We follow the Eduqas (WJEC) Latin GCSE syllabus, which allows for the development of translation and reading skills in Latin, as well as an introduction to the literature of the Ancient World.
Lessons in Ancient Greek are available, although usually as an additional subject off the normal timetable and by prior arrangement.
Latin at A Level
For those that continue the study of Latin beyond GCSE, the world of Ancient Literature really opens up. The A level course develops language skills further, but in reading the works of authors such as Cicero, Ovid, Horace and Catullus, students are really able to get to grips with the lives and ideas of those that lived in Rome 2,000 years ago.
Results have been consistently strong with 100% A or A* grades since 2012. Over the past few years, a number of pupils have gone on to study classical subjects at Russell Group universities, including Oxford, Durham and UCL.
Lisa has a BA in Ancient History and Latin, and is head of the department. She enjoys teaching all aspects of the Ancient World, but her particular interests are the works of the Augustan poets and the Roman occupation of Britain.
Lucy is our Head of Modern Foreign Languages and teaches Latin at GCSE.
Maria is a French national who read English, Russian and Media Studies at Rennes University in Brittany. She has been living in the UK since 1996 and studied languages for her PGCE at Exeter University.