Two thousand years after its birth, Latin remains an enduring force within the language and culture of Western civilisation. Latin lives on not just through the five languages that are its direct descendants but throughout English speaking culture too. Half of our vocabulary is made up of Latin words and roots, and Latin remains the language of law, government, theology and scientific classification.
Its impact on modern languages is one great reason for studying Latin. Learning it helps students to develop a sensitivity to the way language works, helping them meet universal grammatical and linguistic challenges. The rigour required to master the puzzles of Latin translation sharpens the mind, breeding logical and analytical skills and the sort of problem-solving mentality which is in demand in every professional field. It’s no coincidence that classicists have achieved success in fields as diverse as journalism, law, teaching, archaeology, politics and human resources.
Pupils study the OCR GCSE Latin course. For further details, see the OCR Website or the Harrodian GCSE Prospectus.
The GCSE course offers a modern approach to studying Latin, developing pupils core language skills as well as enhancing their analytical and reflective abilities. The course enables pupils to steadily build their Latin vocabulary and their syntactical and grammatical knowledge so that they have the skills and ability to translate ‘unseen’ passages. Pupils study both prose texts in Latin (by authors such as Tacitus and Julius Caesar) and verse texts (by authors such as Virgil and Ovid). In each case, they also study the characters and story, learning both to explain in detail the way that writers achieve literary effects and to examine the work critically and within the cultural context and values of the ancient world.
Pupils require at least a B grade at Level 2 Common Entrance Latin.
Students study the OCR A Level Latin course. For further details, see the OCR Website or the Harrodian Sixth Form Prospectus.
A Level Latin builds on the foundations established at GCSE level. Students undertake two modules focused on their language skills and two on their literary skills. On the language side, in the Unseen Translation module students practise translating Latin verse and prose into well-written English while in the Prose Composition (or alternatively the Comprehension module) it takes great skill to manipulate English texts into Latin. The two literary modules are divided into prose and verse. In the former, they study the work of Roman historians such as Tacitus and Seneca, learning to critically analyse and comment on the work. The verse module focuses on the work of great Roman poets such as Ovid, Propertius and Virgil, and requires students to provide considered and critical personal responses to the work.
Students require a grade 9 or 8 at GCSE Latin.
For more specific year-by-year information, please refer to our Curriculum Handbooks/Information Booklets.
The school organises an annual Harrodian Classics Conference for students studying either Latin or Classical Civilisation at A Level. A number of prestigious speakers are invited to talk at this event and many other schools are invited to attend.
Head of Classical Civilisation: Genevieve Seaton
Other teachers of Latin and Classic Civilisation: please select the relevant department on the dropdown menu to view our full staff list by clicking here.