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Aims & Philosophy of the Latin & Greek Department

“A possession for all time” (Thucydides)

Learning Latin or Greek is a great adventure. Everyone is always fascinated by the Greeks and the Romans, and their civilisation and culture – at once so similar to, and so different from, our own – continue to influence the modern world. From the latest Hollywood epic to the most serious political concerns, our whole way of thinking looks back to and draws strength from the great writers of Greece and Rome. The Classics Department at Queen Margaret’s is committed to opening the door to the ancient world and allowing every girl to experience its inspiring landscape for herself.

Overview of Key Stage 4 Curriculum

Latin and Greek are both offered as full GCSE courses.

In Years IV and V, girls build upon the linguistic knowledge they have already acquired as they explore a number of stories about the corrupt court of the Roman emperors and the lives of great Greek heroes. For Latin we initially use the Cambridge Latin Course Book IV, which gives the girls further practice in extended reading, before moving on to textbooks like Mike Seigel’s Latin: A Clear Guide to Syntax, which focus more sharply on the needs of the current GCSE. For Greek we follow John Taylor’s excellent Greek to GCSE, which has been written specifically for the requirements of the latest qualifications.

By this stage, girls are able to approach classical texts in the original, and towards the end of the Year IV, the prose set texts are introduced. After an initial reading, the girls are encouraged as far as possible to make their own literary and stylistic notes. This often leads to lively and forthright discussion in the lessons. The verse set texts are covered in a similar manner at the start of the Fifth Year.

It is possible for girls to start Greek in the Year IV, even if they have not studied it before.

What makes the department unique from those at other schools?

We pride ourselves on our ability to cater for the individual. We are unusual in being able to offer Greek, Latin and Classical Civilisation as fully timetabled subjects at GCSE and A level, especially given the relatively small size of the school as a whole. As a consequence, classes tend to be small, allowing much greater interaction between pupils and teachers, and also allowing us to tailor what we teach to the interests and requirements of individual girls. GCSE Greek, for example, may be offered as a possibility in the Sixth Form, or extra lessons given to Oxbridge candidates.

The location of Queen Margaret’s also enables us to take advantage of a wide range of extra-curricular events across the country. Visits to Hadrian’s Wall, to the undercroft of York Minster, and to the British Museum are regular features of life in the department. We are also close enough to be able to attend lectures and study days at the universities of Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Manchester, and productions of Classical plays in London, Oxford, and Cambridge. There have also been highly successful trips to Pompeii and Athens in recent years.

To learn about the Latin & Greek Department
curriculum in other Key Stages please choose a link