WHAT IS CLASSICS?
What is Classics?
Classics in the Twenty-First Century has come to mean the school subjects of Classical Greek, Latin, Classical Civilisation and Ancient History.
Who studies Classics?
Maintained ('State') Schools. These include Primary Schools (for pupils aged 4-11), Middle Schools (for pupils aged 7-13) and Secondary Schools (for pupils aged 11-18). Maintained Secondary Schools include selective schools ('Grammar school') and non-selective all-ability schools (Comprehensives, Secondary Modern Schools) All Maintained Schools are funded by general taxation. Academies and Free Schools (which can also be selective or non-selective, comprehensives, grammars or secondary moderns) are funded direct from the government, while other schools are funded via the Local Authority.
All Primary Schools must teach a modern or ancient language (includes ancient Greek and Latin) at KeyStage 2 since 2014. This has led to a small increase in the number of these schools which have introduced Latin to the curriculum. All students in KeyStage 2 also study the Roman invasions and occupation of Britain and the Ancient Greeks (mostly mythology and daily life).
In Secondary Schools Classical subjects are not a compulsory part of the National Curriulum. In the schools where Classical subjects are offered, Latin predominates, followed by Classical Civilisation, Ancient Greek and Ancient History. Curriculum models vary widely from school to school. Pupils are usually introduced to formal study of these subjects in KeyStages 3 and 4 for public examination at 16. Further study of the subjects can take place in KeyStage 5 for public examination at 18.
Independent ('Private'? or 'Fee-paying' or 'Public'?) Schools. These include Preparatory Schools (for pupils aged 4-13) and Secondary Schools (for pupils aged 11-18). Independent Schools usually have a selective intake.
Many Preparatory Schools offer Latin and sometimes Ancient Greek in preparation for selective entry examinations ('Common Entrance') for the Independent Secondary Schools. Latin, again, predominates at Secondary level, with Ancient Greek having a slightly profile in the Independent than the Maintained sector. Curriculum models are just as varied.
What is the national framework for assessment of Classics?
In England and Wales Classical subjects are available for national examination at GCSE (for pupils aged 16), and at A level (for pupils aged 18). A small number of Independent Schools have been entering pupils for the International GCSE (at 16), the International Baccalaureate (at 18) and the Cambridge pre-U examination (at 18). From 2010 State schools have also been allowed to enter pupils for these examinations, but take-up has been low.
What is Latin?
Latin as a school subject consists of the study of the language, literature and civilization of the Romans. In 2015 approximately 13,000 pupils nationally took Latin for examination at GCSE and 1,350 for A level. There are 1,116 Secondary Schools out of a total of 4,725 altogether which offer Latin to their pupils (Cambridge Schools Classics Project, 2011). Of the four Classical subjects, Latin is the subject most widely offered by schools.
What is Ancient Greek?
Ancient Greek as a school subject consists of the study of the language, literature and civilization of the Ancient Greeks. In 2015 approximately 1,300 pupils nationally took Ancient Greek for examination at GCSE and 250 for A level. Far fewer schools offer Ancient Greek to their pupils. Ancient Greek is nearly always offered as a subject in addition to Latin rather than as an alternative to it.
What is Classical Civilization?
Classical Civilization as a school subject consists of the study of the social, cultural and political values and beliefs of the Ancient Greeks and Romans through their literary and material culture. There is no requirement to read the literature in the original language. In 2015 approximately 4,500 pupils nationally took Classical Civilization for examination at GCSE and 4,000 at A level. Many schools offer Classical Civilization or Classical Studies as a foundation course in the early years of Secondary Education (for pupils aged 11-12), often as part of an integrated humanities course for all their pupils. Most schools which offer Classical Civilization to GCSE offer it in addition to Latin. The number of schools which offer Classical Civilization as a GCSE subject on its own, without offering any Latin, is very small. At A level, however, the situation is different. Many pupils are able to take up Classical Civilization at A level without any previous study. Classical Civilization is sometimes offered, therefore, in schools which have no provision of Classical subjects - languages or Classical Civilization itself- in the GCSE years. A number of Sixth Form colleges are noted for their entry of large numbers of pupils for Classical Civilization A level.
What is Ancient History?
Ancient History as a school subject consist of the study of the political and military history of the Ancient Greeks and Romans primarily through literary and inscriptional evidence. There is no requirement to read literature in the original language. In 2015 approximately 400 pupils nationally took Ancient History for examination at GCSE and 800 for A level. Although less popular in schools than Classical Civilization, numbers at A level have recently risen 50% after a successful national campaign by JACT to encourage uptake among school pupils.