‘The more one understands the ancient world, the greater one’s understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the modern world.’

Key Stage 3

All students learn Latin, a very logical language, which is at the root of many western European languages and which shares roots with Sanskrit and Russian, for example. Students are encouraged to enjoy the problem-solving aspects of the subject, while at the same time learning about the values and daily life of the Romans. They are also encouraged to make links between Latin and other languages, both those taught in school and those which they may know from their home culture.


Key Stage 4

Students taking the OCR Latin course have the opportunity not only to develop further their language and problem-solving skills but also to read and study some Latin literature in the original language. In KS4 they may also study Classical Civilisation, a course in which they learn about the culture of the Greeks and Romans, through studying physical evidence of their societies and literature in translation. The third option offered by the department at KS4 is Classical Greek; like Latin, Classical Greek is a highly logical and beautifully-crafted language and the study of it gives access to very memorable and engaging literature.


Key stage 5

The study at A Level of any of the classical subjects complements all other subjects offered in the Sixth Form at HBS, as it gives many significant transferable skills, as well as being of great intrinsic value. Those who choose the classical languages acquire a thorough and rigorous knowledge and appreciation of Classical Greek and/ or Latin language, as well as having the chance to explore significant literary texts which have stood the test of time. The literature is discussed both in depth and with breadth, which enhances the students’ ability to weigh up arguments and also fosters an attitude of openness to and curiosity about the ideas of other cultures.

The A Level Classical Civilisation course is open to those who have studied a classical subject at GCSE and those who have not. We access Greek and Roman culture through a wide range of surviving material, both literary and material. The literature studied is at the root of much of western writing and explores many central human issues, while the art and architecture component involves study of some of the finest structures from the classical world, for example the Parthenon. As well as the intrinsic interest and value of the content, the skills of appreciating the nuances of a text and of drawing conclusions from data complement well all the other subjects offered here at HBS.

Classics Curriculum Breakdown for each Key Stage

Curriculum activities and trips

All KS3 Latin students have the opportunity to see a mythological play performed or to go to a classical exhibition. KS4 Latin students go on a trip to Roman Bath and for Classical Civilisation and Classical Greek students there are theatre and museum visits. For KS5 students of classical subjects there is a biennial study tour of Greece. The HBS Classics Society is energetic and arranges a KS3 competition and invites a range of speakers from universities to give lunchtime talks to KS4 and KS5 students.

Learning Latin is like unlocking a new world. I find that it links to my other subjects, it helps me to think logically and it gives me insight into a fascinating culture
HBS Student
Some of the stories we study are so entertaining that we forget we are in a lesson.
HBS Student
Latin is such a logical subject – it just makes sense! It helps me a lot with other languages – increasing my vocabulary and helping me to understand how grammar works.
HBS Student
Classical Civilisation at A Level is probably unique, as there is so much variety. Studying epic poetry is something that will never go out of fashion and learning about art and architecture was a really new and enlightening experience.
HBS Student
I feel very special to be able to study literature like the Iliad in the language in which it was written and to extract for myself layers of meaning from the text. Classical Greek is in a league of its own; you are able to delve into human nature
HBS Student
Latin as a language is really interesting and at A Level you study fabulous texts. You can be both logical and creative in your study of the subject.
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Academic Programme
We are committed to providing a broad education that is ambitious, varied and stimulating.
Years 7 - 9
At Key Stage 3, we want to enable girls to pursue a wide variety of academic and extra-curricular interests to the full.
Years 10 - 11
Progress into Key Stage 4 is both a psychological one, entering the ‘GCSE years’, as well as a literal one.
Sixth Form
Sixth Form is a vibrant, friendly and happy community, where every student is valued and given individual attention.