The Perse School


Competent linguists and critical analysts

Our Aim

To study Classical Greek in the Sixth Form is to embark on a course of study now offered by very few schools but which is held in the very highest regard by employers and universities. Those who have studied Greek to a high level are regarded as being academically ambitious and able to rise to a challenge. Whilst many students will choose Greek alongside Latin as they prepare to study Classics at university, others opt for the subject for both the intellectual challenge it offers and the insight it provides into one of the Western world’s foundational cultures.

Within the Sixth Form, Greek can be studied to AS Level, alongside students’ main curriculum choices in a “long-thin” structure over two years. In some years it may be possible for students to study Greek to A Level, and in those circumstances Greek might form one of a student’s main curriculum choices. The information presented on the website describes Greek AS Level, but please speak to the Classics Department for more information about the A Level course and its availability.

Studying Greek within the Sixth Form requires students to become confident linguists as well as critical analysts of literature written in the language. Over the two years of the Sixth Form course, students should expect to read texts by such authors as Homer, Sophocles, Euripides, Plato and Thucydides, and thereby to become immersed in the myth, history and culture of the Greek world. Teachers pass on their own expertise in Greek grammar as well as their enthusiasm for the different literary texts.

In almost every case those wishing to study Greek in the Sixth Form will need to have taken Classical Greek at GCSE. Although many students will study Latin alongside Greek in the Sixth Form, it is quite possible to study Greek without Latin.

Learning journey - Lower Sixth

Students begin the Lower Sixth by reading a variety of texts to introduce them to the breadth of Greek literature. We look at works by a range of authors, which may include texts written by Homer, Sophocles, Lysias and Herodotus. This work will develop many of the skills needed for success at AS Level. There will also be an extensive programme of language teaching and vocabulary learning to help students become confident readers of Greek texts.
Later in the year students will begin reading their AS Level set texts, which from September 2018 will be either Herodotus Book 7 or Plato’s Phaedo (prose literature) and either Homer Iliad 18 or Euripides Medea (verse literature). Formal language work will continue throughout the year.

Learning journey - Upper Sixth

Learning journey – Upper Sixth
During the Upper Sixth, students will complete the AS Level course, working towards the two AS Level examinations:
• Greek language – translation and comprehension of unseen passages of classical Greek prose and the translation of English sentences into classical Greek.
• Greek literature – translation, comprehension and analysis (including the writing in English of extended responses) of prose and verse set texts.

Providing stretch

We encourage those studying Greek to read beyond the requirements of the exam specifications and to pursue their own interests. The Classics Department has its own extensive library in addition to the many classical works found in the school library. We have a collection of the Omnibus periodical aimed at those studying classical subjects in the Sixth Form. We encourage students to read widely around the subject; suggested texts include Mary Beard and John Henderson’s Classics – A Very Short Introduction, Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles and Simon Goldhill’s Love, Sex and Tragedy.

We provide students with access to seminal articles as well as links to blogs and other websites of interest. Students are encouraged to follow the Department on Twitter @PerseClassics so that they can stay abreast of new research within classics and suggestions for further independent exploration.

You can read more about Old Persean Prof Robert Tordoff (1996) who currently Associate Professor of ancient Greek and Latin language at York University Canada, here.
Beyond the classroom

We regularly hold fascinating talks of a classical theme, and run clubs, societies and competitions.

Some are organised by our 42 society, such a lecture on ‘How the Roman gods can predict your future’ by Dr Jerry Toner, Director of Studies in classics at Churchill College, Cambridge and an Old Persean, while some are given by students, perhaps as part of their EPQ, such as a presentation assessing evidence that the Ancient Greeks had post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sixth Form students (as well as those in Year 11) are invited to participate in regular Classics Seminars, led by members of staff and by pupils alike. The seminars feature presentations on different aspects of Classics, followed by discussion.

Students of Greek have the chance to compete in the annual Senior Reading Competition run by the local branch of the Classical Association.

Greek at university

The Perse has a strong tradition of preparing students for entrance to top universities to read classics.

All who hope to study classics at university receive guidance and advice to help them prepare for interview and make a smooth transition to university.

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