Classics gives a unique insight into a world that shaped our own. Greek literature and philosophy forms the basis of western culture. Roman law, planning and architecture have made our courts, road network and public buildings what they are today. Modern society owes a huge cultural debt to the ancient world and a knowledge of the intellectual achievements of these societies can help us make sense of the world.
Latin and Greek also, of course, provides 60% of English vocabulary. A knowledge of Latin or Greek can dramatically improve a pupil’s range of vocabulary, accuracy of spelling and clarity of expression. It can enhance the ability to communicate in one’s own language.
Latin is studied by all in Forms 1 and 2, giving pupils a good grounding in the language and considerable knowledge of the Roman world.
In the Middle School Latin is taught as an option in Form 3 and, if enjoyed, is chosen as a GCSE subject in Form 4. Greek is also offered ab initio in Form 4 for academically able students as a fast-paced combined 'Gratin' course, leading to two full GCSEs. Classical Civilisation is an increasingly popular option and requires no knowledge of Latin or Greek.
Latin and Greek students sharpen their reading in the Upper School as they read set texts in the original language and analyse them in greater depth. International Baccalaureate Latin and Greek are very similar to the A-level specifications with the added dimension of a Research Dossier. Classical Civilisation A-level is also offered, requiring no previous knowledge (or study) of the classical world, and often leads to a university course in the subject.
A highly successful Oxbridge programme means that a steady trickle of Oakhamian classicists go on to these and other universities.