The King's (The Cathedral) School




We believe the study of the Classical world is intrinsically interesting to pupils as it covers such a wide range of areas from language to mythology, history to archaeology. As a result of their language study, their vocabulary will be widened and deepened. Their historical and literary studies will enable them to become analytical and critical thinkers. Students will learn to understand how different cultures lived, thought and spoke and be able to gain greater cultural intelligence in their general lives, particularly in a school with a diversity of cultures. These cultures play a fundamental part in our history and language so they will be able to appreciate the legacy and impact these civilisations have had and still have on our lives whether they choose to pursue the subject further or not.


In the Classics department we introduce students to the language, literature, culture and societies of Ancient Greece and Rome. We use the Cambridge Latin Course as it is a Reading Course which aims to introduce pupils to an integrated view of life in Pompeii and then the wider Roman empire through the study of the Latin language and culture. It uses a strong storyline to introduce pupils to the language from simple sentences and language features progressing steadily to more complex sentence structures and grammatical concepts.  Alongside this, pupils learn about the lives of Romans and those living in their empire.  Starting in Pompeii gives pupils a good grounding in what we know about the daily life of Romans due to the wealth of evidence preserved in the city. From there the narrative shifts to Roman Britain which provides a significant contrast as a province of the Roman empire geographically far from the capital. This also provides a chance to consider the diversity of the Roman empire through the people who lived in Roman Britain and then links well to the setting of Roman Alexandria. Finally, with the focus shifting to Rome itself and the complexity of political life in Rome, older students are able to use their prior knowledge of ordinary Roman towns and provinces to understand the power struggles in the capital as well as the literature that was produced there and what it reveals about the Romans and their views.

At A-Level we study Classical Civilisation to broaden out students’ knowledge across the Ancient World, looking at two distinct yet linked civilisations. The components studied link well together and allow students to make connections across cultures and literature. In Year 12 they study The Iliad as their Homeric text which lays the groundwork for how the Greeks and Romans viewed heroes.  We also study the Component 2 Unit Imperial Image which introduces students to the world of the beginnings of Imperial Rome and lays the foundation for The Aeneid.  In Year 13 students study Greek Religion for Component 3 and this builds nicely from the knowledge gained through the study of The Iliad. And finally, they study The Aeneid and can reference back to Imperial Image for historical context and also The Iliad for literary context.


At KS3 on average 60% of Year 8 choose to study Latin.  In recent years we have averaged 18 choosing to do Latin at GCSE.  At A-Level we have averaged 14 choosing to do Classical Civilisation. Our exam results have been consistently good with pupils achieving at least their predictions or better on average. In addition to our curriculum we provide opportunities for wider learning through Greek Club and trips to a range of places, including the British Museum, Museum of London, Hadrian’s Wall, Italy and Greece.  These all aid our pupils to a deeper knowledge and understanding borne out of experience.

Many students are inspired to read beyond the curriculum including ‘Percy Jackson’ for younger years and novels like ‘The Silence of the Girls’, ‘Song of Achilles’ and ‘Circe’ in the older years as well as books like Stephen Fry’s ‘Mythos’. Each year we have students who choose to study Classical subjects and other related subjects like Archaeology, Art History and Egyptology at University level. Students are often inspired to travel to see Greece and Italy or by the art that was inspired by the two civilisations. Both current and former students have developed a rapport with us where they openly discuss the Classical world asking for travel recommendations and giving recommendations of their own for exhibitions, plays and places of interest.

Department Staff

Ms Anna Karsten (AMK): Head of Classics Department and SLT Link
Mr Andrew Prideaux (AAP): Teacher of Classics