Classics

Classics at Walhampton is far more than simply “amo, amas, amat” – we work hard to bring the Classics to life in ways that engage and enthuse our pupils. Classicists are recognised as being logical, for possessing strong linguistic skills and for their attention to detail.

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The influence of Latin and the Roman and Greek civilisations is everywhere: nearly 60% of English words derive from Latin, it’s used daily by lawyers, doctors and scientists, and the grammar and structure of many Western languages are rooted in Latin. The classical world spanned two millennia and three continents and formed the basis of modern democracy.

Our classicists enjoy the privilege of studying Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad, epic works that have been passed down through generations for 3,000 years, and a tradition we are proud to continue. Pupils are encouraged to discover the similarities and differences between Facebook and the Delphic Oracle, football matches and the Circus Maximus, computer gaming and fights at the Coliseum.

The Classics room also brings these ancient civilisations to life through artifacts that range from tiny Roman coins to life-size gladiator armour, with the formal curriculum also enriched by special visitors, trips to a Roman villa and re-enactments.

Most senior public schools teach Classics, with over 200 different degrees at UK universities including Classics. Our pupils are thoroughly prepared for the Latin Common Entrance exam at the end of Year 8 by working through revision sheets and practice papers individually and in small groups. Most take either Level 2 or Level 3 depending on the senior school to which they are applying and their proficiency in translation and comprehension.

Classics Assessment

This is done using a variety of means. All pupils have a weekly vocabulary test and written assignments are graded by attainment and effort. Termly projects are enjoyed by the children and displayed outside the Classics classroom.

Classics Curriculum and Teaching

Unlike many Prep schools, we give every child the opportunity to learn Latin in Years 5 and 6 and to further their studies in the final two years with either more advanced Latin or Classical Civilisation.

Year 5 pupils are introduced to the subject with the child-friendly Minimus books by Barbara Bell based on a cartoon mouse and move to the ever-popular 'So You Really Want To Learn?' series. The two Junior years have one lesson per week increasing to two lessons in Years 7 and 8.

As well as more traditional methods of learning vocabulary and grammar, pupils are encouraged to explore different techniques including chanting, singing and even rapping! Particularly enjoyable are the many and varied group activities such as Latin Bingo, “Augustus Says” (Simon Says) and online resources like Cyberlatin. Pupils enjoy lively debates and discussions about the Greek and Roman way of life and love discussing the merits and shortcomings of the ancient heroes.

Classics Department Staff

Jane Mann Head of Department