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Classics (curriculum)


Subject Leader: Kaye Patrick –

Classics is the study of the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans: their histories, heroes and how these amazing ancient cultures of the past made such a huge impact on our present day.


A collaborative learning environment is key to every Classics lesson. Pupils are encouraged to work in pairs and groups and due to our class sizes we often work collectively on tasks to ensure an inclusive and shared approach to learning. Social concepts and constructs such as the Roman class system are also analysed in Classics, providing pupils with a more well-rounded view of how societies function.

Throughout the source material that we study in Classics, pupils gain a sense of challenge with regards to morality. We provide opportunities for the analysis of works of literature, art and philosophy such as the heroic codes of warriors, tragic Greek plays and Roman law court speeches, all of which offer a profound insight into the morality of human behaviour.

In Classics we not only look at the powerful idea of spirituality which formed the core of the classical world; its religions, the Greek and Roman gods, temples and rituals, but we also consider the effect of these religious methods upon the societies which, consequently, promotes spiritual growth within the classroom.

The study of the cultures of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome are instrumental to Classics. Pupils are encouraged to actively engage in the process of enquiry into the classical world, taking into account classical values and the subsequent impact on these cultures upon the modern world. An exploration of the beliefs, values and traditions of these ancient peoples is central to student success.

Classics is a very academic subject and More able pupils are challenged to evaluate, interpret and analyse in a convincing and thorough manner. Pupils are encouraged to demonstrate a high level of understanding of the literary source that we are studying; its context and links to the classical world. More able pupils are provided with opportunities to question these worlds and consequently construct informed and personal responses and conclusions.

In Key Stage 4 all pupils study and sit a GCSE in Classics (OCR).

GCSE Classics:

Year 9

Autumn Term:
At the start of the course we immerse ourselves into the everyday lives of both the ancient Greeks and Romans as this provides a thorough and much needed context for learning. Pupils will only be examined on one of these two areas in the Summer of Year 11 but we feel that an overview of both will benefit pupils throughout the remainder of the course as it gives an amazing insight into their beliefs, traditions and interests of these people.

‘City Life in the Classical World’ – Athens.
The focus of this module is the everyday life of an ancient Greek citizen in one of the most flourishing city states in ancient times. Through literary and visual sources we look at the elements that were of utmost importance to the Athenians:
● Religion – its role and importance in the lives of the Greeks, festivals, Gods and temples.
● The family in Athens – the roles and duties of its members and their homes or “Oikos”.
● Education in Athens – the education of boys and girls in preparation for their adult roles.
● Entertainment in Athens – the appeal of these activities in the context of Athenian society.
● The City Dionysia Drama festival – the participants, judging, religious and theatrical content

Spring Term:
‘City Life in the Classical World’ – Rome.
We then look at the way the Romans lived in the capital of the empire. Pupils will gain knowledge and understanding of three main areas of Roman life:
● Religion – its role and importance in the lives of the Romans, temples and sacrifice.
● State gods and goddess – their responsibilities and how they are represented in Roman art
● The family in Rome – the roles and duties of its individual members, including slaves.
● Entertainment in Rome – the Circus Maximus chariot racing: the day’s events, the arena, and track as well as the Colosseum Gladiator fights, animal shows and executions.
● Education in Rome – the education of boys and girls in preparation for their adult roles.

Summer Term
‘Community life in the classical world’ – Sparta
The focus of this unit is the unique social, political and military organisation of Sparta. We will gain an understanding of the ethos of the Spartans and how such attitudes were encouraged and maintained in Sparta.
● Sparta versus the other Greeks – spartan attitudes to non-Spartans.
● Lykourgos – the legend of his establishment as a leader in Sparta.
● Education of boys – the treatment of boys, from birth to joining the military messes.
● Spartan Women – their upbringing, marriage, daily life, physical appearance and duties.
● Military Organisation – the army’s organisation, fighting methods, training and appearance.

Year 10

Autumn Term
‘Epic and Myth’ – The Odyssey by Homer
Following the Odysseus through this Epic Myth in the aftermath of the Trojan War as he battles against famous Greek monsters – like the Cyclops, temptations and even his own men – in an attempt to get back to his home town of Ithaca. In the first instance we look at the context of the Epic by considering the context and key characters:
● Odysseus as a hero
● The role and characterisation of Odysseus, Calypso, Nausicaa, Alcinous, Arete, Polyphemus, the Cyclopes, Circe and Athene
● The presentation of the Sirens, Scylla and Charybdis
● The role of the gods
● The role of women (to include Calypso and Circe as well as the mortal women)

Spring Term
Analysing the Epic
Then, a more indepth analysis of the story itself, its themes, style and its literary techniques.
● Xenia (the guest–host relationship) in the Odyssey
● Civilisation and barbarism
● Homer’s narrative and descriptive techniques
● Homer as a story-teller and the idea of epic.

Summer Term
Culture and Society in the Classical World’ – Introduction to our Controlled Assessment
Before the summer break of Year 10, we will begin to look at the chosen topic of our Controlled Assessment Task (worth 25% of the overall GCSE grade). The aim of this unit is to encourage pupils to actively engage in enquiring into the classical world and to really utilise the elements of the course that they have already acquired. Pupils can study one out of a choice of six options:
● Sophocles – Anitgone: Background to the Greek myth and elements of Greek Theatre.
● Aristophanes – Lysistrata: The Greek play, its characters and the role of women.
● The Olympic Games: The origins, organisation and religious aspects of the games.
● Virgil – The Aenid: Aeneas’ mission, characterisation of Aeneas and literary techniques.
● Pliny – Letters of Ancient Rome: his character and relationships with leading Romans
● Roman Britain: Hadrian’s Wall, Roman towns and buildings, Boudicca and Caratacus.

Year 11

Autumn Term
Controlled Assessment Task completion
Following the completion of the background teaching of the chosen Controlled Assessment topic, pupils will spend this time independently researching the topic in line with the Controlled Assessment question and then complete their written task. We will look at literacy techniques, perfecting writing style and researching techniques throughout this process.

Spring and Summer Terms
Revision and Examination techniques
At this stage in the course all of the examination content will be taught and so we will have the remaining run up to the exams to revise the elements needed for the three summer examinations:
● ‘City Life in the Classical World’ – Life in Ancient Greece OR Ancient Rome
● ‘Community life in the classical world’ – Sparta
● ‘Epic and Myth’ – The Odyssey by Homer
We will also spend time throughout this final consolidation phases looking at examination techniques and providing literacy and writing support to ensure that all pupils feel fully prepared and equipped to confidently complete their exams.

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