We are proud to be one of the few schools that teaches classical Greek from beginners’ level right up to preparation for Oxbridge university admission.
We introduce students to the ancient world through a curriculum that includes Latin in Years 7 and 8, and Latin, Gratin (Latin and Greek combined) and ancient history from Year 9 upwards. Please be aware that Greek is not studied as a single option choice in Years 9-11 but as part of our Gratin provision. If students wish to pursue Greek and Latin to GCSE then they will need to opt for Gratin where they will achieve two separate GCSEs in Greek and Latin at the end of year 11. Please contact the classics department for further details.
Our students often choose to study Greek to challenge themselves. Once they have mastered a new alphabet, students find as their reward that they have gained access to a rich and varied world. They gain not only satisfaction but also real insight from being able to read the foundational texts of Western literature in their original language. They will be able to investigate the ancient Greek world in all its diversity and to see just how indebted to that world we still are today.
The tradition of classical learning at The Perse is a long and distinguished one which stretches from the innovative teaching of Dr W.H.D. Rouse in the early twentieth century right up to the present, when students leave The Perse to pursue classical courses at top universities including Oxford and Cambridge.
What is Gratin?
We combine the learning of the language of Classical Athens alongside the learning of Latin. This is a fast-paced course where two subjects are taught in one option block. Please be aware that we do not offer Greek independent of Gratin in Years 9-11. If a student wishes to choose GCSE Gratin, resulting in two separate GCSEs at the end of year 11, in nearly every case they will need to have studied Gratin in Year 9.
The Perse is one of the few schools nationally to teach Classical Greek and therefore all who have excelled in Latin should seriously consider this option. Students will find the study of Greek to be very similar to Latin.
What will I study in Year 9?
The basics of the ancient Greek language by working through the first book of John Taylor’s “Greek to GCSE” course.
Does it matter if I have not done Greek before?
Our Greek provision (via Gratin) is from a beginner’s level, although there is scope to provide extension work to those who have studied some Greek previously. If you have not done any Greek previously, it does not matter! If you have studied some Greek already, it is best to get in touch with Mr Foster (Head of department) to discuss the best learning experience for you. As with our expectations for the study of solely Latin, it is expected that pupils will have completed book 2 of the CLC or equivalent, in order to keep pace with the Gratin course.
How big are the classes?
For Gratin, the class size can range from five to 15 students.
- Learning journey - Years 8 and 9
The top sets in Year 8 receive an introduction to ancient Greek as a regular part of their Latin lessons, while students in other sets receive a taster lesson during the year.
Year 9 students who wish to study Greek will do so via our Gratin provision. Students will study Greek in conjunction with Latin in one option block and, as a result, this is a fast-paced option. There is no option to study exclusively Greek. It is expected Greek will be studied from a beginners’ level while Latin will be taught from the same level as the other Latin classes in the year group. Within Gratin, students will study the language and the civilisation of both the Greeks and the Romans. Some may already have had some exposure to Greek during Year 8 at The Perse or at their previous school; we aim to meet all needs through a programme of differentiated study which ensures that all students have reached the same level by the end of the year and are in a position to continue Gratin to GCSE if they desire.
- Learning journey - GCSE
Those students who have completed the Year 9 Gratin course can choose to study Gratin for GCSE in Years 10 and 11. This culminates in two separate GCSEs in Latin and Greek at the end of Year 11. This is again timetabled in one option block but can be supplemented with additional periods after-school where required.
During Year 10 students learn the remaining language features required for GCSE. Towards the end of the year, students begin study of their GCSE prose set text; this year the prose set text is a selection of Lucian, taken from his vera historia.
In Year 11 students complete their study of the prose texts and study the verse set texts as prescribed by OCR; the verse texts may well be an extract from one of Homer’s epic poems or could be an excerpt from a play of Euripides from a Greek perspective, while more often than not, Virgil’s Aeneid is the focus for Latin. Alongside study and revision of the set literature, students consolidate their knowledge of grammar and vocabulary in both languages and will gain regular practice in the translation and analysis of ‘unseen’ passages ahead of their GCSE exams.
- Providing stretch
We set half-termly suggestions for pupils who would like to go beyond the curriculum, from applying the literary critical techniques they have learnt in Greek to their reading in other languages, to creating a piece of creative writing based on personal research.
We aim to run frequent trips to local museums and to archaeological sites around the Mediterranean. Recent trips to Greece have seen pupils visit key sites in Athens as well as Nemea, Mycenae and Epidaurus. This gives students the opportunity to investigate the ancient world through sites and museums while discovering modern culture and learning about the geography of the area.
We prepare students to compete in two annual Reading Competitions run by the local branch of the Classical Association. Students read passages of Greek that they have studied and compete against other local schools.
- Beyond the classroom
We regularly hold fascinating talks on classical themes, and run clubs, societies and competitions.
Some talks are organised by our 42 society, such as a lecture on ‘Superheroes, monsters and girlfriends: women in Ancient Greek and Roman Literature’ by Dr Rosanna Omotowoju, Fellow in classics at Kings College, Cambridge while some are given by students, perhaps as part of their EPQ,
Lyceum is the classical society for Years 9 to Upper Sixth and is run by Sixth Form students. Named for Aristotle’s famous philosophical meeting place, the society meets weekly to present, discuss and debate a wide range of classical topics, exploring anything from ancient art and architecture to classical philosophy and music. This society has an open door policy, so if you are eager to present on an area of personal interest, relating to classics, you have the platform to do so.