The Classical World has bequeathed to us an ineffably rich legacy. Far more than just the learning of ancient vocabulary, grammar, and syntax, the study of Classics at New Hall offers its students the chance to immerse themselves in the history, culture, art, literature, philosophy, politics, and, indeed, languages that have so shaped and influenced our own, and which have held our fascination for centuries.
During their time at New Hall, students have the opportunity to study both Latin and Classical Greek ab initio, all the way up to Oxbridge entrance level. In so doing, they develop their understanding of how languages work, how to conjure mellifluous translations, and how to communicate with clarity and elegance in equal measure. Alongside the learning of ancient languages, students are challenged to investigate Roman and Greek literature, from the epics of Homer through to the love poetry of Catullus, from the tragedies of Sophocles to the histories of Tacitus, and thus they avail themselves of the opportunity to gain a profound understanding of the most engaging, beautiful, and insightful works ever composed.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
From the start of Year 7, each student at New Hall studies Latin for four periods per fortnight. Using the Cambridge Latin Course, they build their understanding of Latin vocabulary and grammar and the skill of accurate translation. At the same time, we explore several elements of Roman history and culture, including Pompeii, Roman Britain, and Roman Egypt.
Upon entry into Year 9, students can elect the study of Classical Greek as one of their Creative Arts options. Of fundamental importance is that each child making this choice should enjoy their introduction to the Greek world, whether by deciphering new vocabulary and grammar in a new alphabet, or by investigating the myths, gods, drama, art, and architecture that have held us in their thrall for so long.
By the end of Year 9, our students have laid the foundations for success at GCSE level and can choose to pursue that in both Latin and Classical Greek.
Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
Latin – J282 (OCR) and Classical Greek – J292 (OCR)
Latin and Classical Greek are both attractive options at GCSE, offering students the chance to study disciplines that relatively few of their contemporaries nationwide share. While our students continue to develop their understanding of the languages, they are also introduced to original prose and verse literature. Latinists looking forward to examination in 2023 and 2024 are exploring the only fully extant Latin novel (Apuleius’ Golden Ass) and the story of Echo and Narcissus from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Those studying Greek are exploring the Histories of Herodotus and Euripides’ most famous tragedy, Bacchae.
In 2022, 86% of Greek GCSE students achieved grades 7-9, while 67% of Latinists achieved the same.
Affording students the chance to engage with Classics beyond the confines of the Key Stage 3 and GCSE curricula is of immeasurable importance. To this end, the Classics Society, supported by our prefects, provides an arena for all interested New Hall students to discover, discuss, debate, and even enjoy cinema focussed on a wide range of ideas, times, places, and people. We run regular trips to Italy and Greece, and we have enjoyed frequent visits to the theatre, including a recent performance of Antigone at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre and KCL’s Greek play, The Plague at Thebes.
Head of Classics: Mr P. Goulding [email protected]