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.

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

All students study Latin in Year 7 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.

They will also explore what life was like in Ancient Rome and analyse how Roman society influenced modern day living.

Pupils will be encouraged to reflect upon the relevance of still studying Latin and Classics today.

Year 8

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.

All students have the option of studying Latin or Classical Civilisation in Year 9, both those with previous knowledge and complete beginners.


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.

Classical Civilisation

Pupils have the opportunity to explore the myths, literature and societies of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Alongside a greater appreciation for the Classical world, students will develop their skills of analysis, literacy and reaching personal judgments. They are encouraged to consider throughout to what extent moral and societal values have remained or changed.

Pupils begin the course by reading a range of surviving Ancient Greek myths, considering the themes and purpose of them. The next topic of study is religion in Ancient Greece, as part of which pupils learn who the different Greek Gods were and how the Ancient Greeks worshipped them. Pupils then explore the concept of heroism in Ancient Greece, learning about the heroic code and studying ancient myths and literature about heroes such as Hercules, Perseus and Achilles.

The story of Odysseus is studied in more detail and pupils analyse sections of the Odyssey to explore themes, character and literary style.

The focus of the course then moves to the foundation of the Roman Republic and Empire, in which topic students will study the politics, values and society of Ancient Rome.



GCSE Latin 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.

Course overview

  • 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.

Classical Civilisation

The study of Classical Civilisation at GCSE allows pupils to explore what life was like in Ancient Greece and Rome and to make comparisons between the ancient societies and the world today.

For the thematic paper, pupils look at the role of myths and religion in ancient societies. This includes the study of a range of popular myths, looking at the beliefs held about gods and learning about how they were worshipped. Pupils will be encouraged to compare Greek and Roman ideas as well as ancient and modern beliefs regarding religion.

In the Literature and Culture component, pupils will explore what everyday Roman city life was like, with a particular focus on housing, the family, social hierarchy and entertainment. The Roman social system was notorious for its intrigues and politics and this, coupled with the study of the spectacle provided by Roman entertainment, makes this an exciting topic to explore.

Within the Classical Civilisation course, students will develop skills of analysis (particularly literary analysis) and evaluation that complement a range of other subjects. Pupils will also become more adept in forming and arguing persuasively for informed personal judgments.


  • Thematic Study (50%) – 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Literature and Culture (50%) – 1 hour 30 minutes


The aim of the course is to introduce students to both aspects of Latin in a more sophisticated and extensive fashion.

There is little new grammar to learn, students’ language knowledge is instead applied in a more exciting range of tasks.

Appropriate historical and literary backgrounds are also studied, broadening students’ understanding of the Roman world.

We follow the OCR A-level (Specification code: H443). Candidates must sit the following four papers to gain the A-level in Latin:

  • Unseen Translation (33%). Studying Ovid and Livy, and learning to scan two lines of verse.
  • Comprehension (17%). Understanding of an unseen passage of Latin prose, looking at comprehension, translation, accidence and syntax.
  • Prose Literature (25%). Students study Cicero’s Pro Milone speech, and explore the wider context of the Republic and politics, as well as the oratory skill of Cicero.
  • Verse Literature (25%). Students study Book VIII of Virgil’s Aeneid, one of the most important texts to have survived from Ancient Rome.