Head of Department: Miss J A Saul BA (Oxon) 
Email: jessica.saul@epsomcollege.org.uk

One of the advantages of embracing the study of the Classics is that of covering the entire spectrum of subjects that were explored in the ancient world and which gave rise to a variety of disciplines studied today. Geometry, natural sciences, astronomy, medicine and physics all have their origin in the ancient world. It is through the research of the ancient thinkers and writers that the spectrum of disciplines opens up to us.

According to a famous philologist of the 19th century, "He who studies the classical world needs to limit his horizon not because of the subject, but because there are subjective limits in ourselves, first of all the lack of time in one's life." That is to say the study of Classics endows us with richness of thought and a constant search for new knowledge, as well as providing a framework which we can apply to our own lives and our understanding of society.

The skills developed when studying the Classics can be applied to any other subject and field in future life. It develops skills of analysis, evaluation, reasoning and debate, all of which are useful for a wide range of degrees and occupations.

The study of classical languages, namely Latin and Greek, develops problem solving skills and provides an invaluable tool to understand a text, which is not immediately clear and comprehensible. This same principle is at the very core of mathematics, philosophy and more generally forms the foundation of the scientific and philosophical way of thinking. Thus the study of Classics complements a number of other subjects.

Follow the links below to learn more about Classics at Epsom College.


Year 7/Third Form

All students study Latin in Third Form for one lesson a week and are introduced to the language and society of the Ancient Romans through the Cambridge Latin Course. Pupils will develop a Latin vocabulary and knowledge of grammatical structures in order to translate increasingly more complex passages into English.

Students will also explore what life was like in Ancient Rome and analyse how Roman society influenced modern day living. They will be encouraged to reflect upon the relevance of still studying Latin and Classics today.

Year 8/Lower Fourth

All students study a Classical subject in Lower Fourth for one lesson a week. Students have the choice between continuing with the Latin language or starting Classical Civilisation. In Latin, students continue to work through the Cambridge Latin Course to develop their understanding of Latin vocabulary and grammar. The study of the language is complemented by exploring Ancient Roman culture and civilisation. Pupils are encouraged to consider how the language and customs of Ancient Rome both influenced life today and how we have moved away from some of their beliefs and ideas.

Students who choose to start Classical Civilisation learn about the Ancient Greek gods and myths surrounding them, study and analyse extracts in English of the Iliad and look at what life was like in Roman Britain.

Year 9/Middle Fourth

All students have the option of studying Latin in Middle Fourth, both those with previous knowledge and complete beginners. There are currently three sets and many of these pupils decide to continue with the subject at GCSE.

Pupils study grammar, the structure of language and the etymology of words; they start to become more reflective of their own language and their vocabulary is enhanced and sharpened. They also continue to explore what Roman society was like and to what extent societal values have remained or changed.
Students continue to work through the Cambridge Latin Course series.

Latin: OCR J281

This GCSE course includes translation, language analysis, the study of literary texts and exploration of sources that show how Roman society worked.

The study of Latin enhances many other subjects. Some pupils gain an understanding of the grammar of modern languages through comparison with their knowledge of Latin. Many also see the similarity of the logical thought processes required for both Latin and mathematics. Ancient literature is drawn upon heavily by later English writers, and the study of Latin provides the basis for much English grammar, and hence the production of a more sophisticated English style. The analysis required for translation from Latin also helps to train the mind in historical analysis, aiding subjects in that area.

The course:

  • As the ability to understand and translate Latin develops, the student is encouraged to adopt a sensitive and disciplined approach to translation.
  • The course is tested by examinations sat at the end of the Fifth Form. The examinations test pupils' knowledge and understanding of the language through unprepared translations and comprehensions, and questions based on verse and prose set texts or sources studied throughout the course.
  • There is a set GCSE vocabulary list to be learnt.
  • There is no coursework element.


OCR H039 (AS); H439 (A2)

The A level Latin course combines the intellectual challenge of the language with the study of the history and civilisation of ancient Rome through its literature. We generally expect that pupils selecting this subject will have gained at least a grade 6 or above at GCSE.

Latin provides an excellent background for both History and the study of the literature of our own times and complements courses in Modern Languages, while some pupils combine it with Maths or Physics, since similar thought processes are required. It may also be taken with Greek to provide a thorough grounding in the Classics; this course, in particular, enables students to develop a variety of skills such as the ability to analyse and critically evaluate sources in order to form reasoned arguments.

What is studied in A2 Latin?

Latin Translation: As part of this module candidates are expected to translate two unseen passages, one verse and one prose. The exam lasts 1 hour 45 mins and is worth 33% of the A Level.

Latin Comprehension: As part of this module candidates choose whether to answer comprehension and grammar questions on an unseen Latin passage or to translate a passage of English into Latin. The exam lasts 1 hour 15 mins and is worth 17% of the A Level.

Prose Literature: Candidates study and prepare two prose set texts. In the first section of the examination they are given two passages from the text; they translate sections and answer literary criticism questions. In the second, they write an essay on a theme in the text.

Verse Literature: Candidates study and prepare two verse set texts. In the first section of the examination they are given two passages from the text; they translate sections and answer literary criticism questions. In the second, they write an essay on a theme in the text.

Department Staff

Head of Department

Miss J A Saul BA (Oxon)

Department Teaching Staff

Mrs K A Cole BA (Dunelm), ATCL