Sedbergh Senior School - Classics, Academics Image

introducing latin

Pupils who enjoy and flourish at GCSE Latin will be well placed to succeed at A Level, where smaller class sizes enable a tutorial-style approach to learning. The greater depth in which the set texts are studied gives pupils the opportunity to immerse themselves in issues of history, philosophy and culture.

The new A Level structure will favour those studying Latin, as they will have the full two years to hone their language skills before sitting their qualifying examinations.

The vast majority of Latin pupils in recent years have gone on to achieve at least an A grade at A-Level. Many have also chosen to continue their study of Classics at university, including at Oxbridge.

description of the course

Year 9

The department advocates an independent-learning approach to the study of the Latin language, meaning that there are no set targets for termly progress. The bare minimum for a pupil wishing to continue Latin at GCSE level is the completion of Book One of the course (Latin to GCSE) by the end of the year, but a large number will have made heavy inroads into Book Two or gone even further.

The content of the Latin course is essentially a mixture of basic accidence, vocabulary and syntax acquisition, with emphasis placed on the importance of translation both from and into the target language. Pupils will also cover the GCSE Literature and Culture module, incorporating elements such as Roman Entertainment and Roman Britain; this means that they will already have completed a quarter of the GCSE course by the end of Year 9.


GCSE Y10 to Y11

Examination Board          OCR

Web address:          

Specification                      Latin (9-1) J282

Assessment:                      Three written papers

Candidates work towards assessment in a combination of language and literature, honing their language skills in Year 10 and tackling the literature in Year 11.

Language: tests ability in unseen translation and comprehension of Latin prose, as well as derivations and basic grammar questions.

Prose Literature: tests knowledge, appreciation and understanding of prose authors such as Pliny, Livy and Cicero. The texts are used as sources to examine areas such as Roman daily life, Roman politics, famous battles and Roman Britain.

Verse Literature: tests knowledge, appreciation and understanding of a verse set text, currently selections from the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic masterpiece.

A Level Y12-13

Examination Board          OCR

Web address:          

Specification:                     A-Level (H443)

Lower Sixth The Lower Sixth course forms a suitable bridge from GCSE, with a familiar blend of language and literature work. There is not a huge jump in difficulty from GCSE in terms of grammar or stylistic analysis. The prose set text is a selection from Cicero, whilst the verse comes from Ovid.

Upper Sixth

(01): Unseen translation H443

(02): Prose Composition H443

(03): Prose Literature H443

(04): Verse Literature H443

The A-Level papers provide scope for greater depth of study of literature and language. The unseen paper allows pupils the opportunity to read a large amount of unadapted poetry and prose from a range of authors, whilst strong linguists will relish the challenge of prose composition. Set text analysis requires the writing of full-length commentaries and essays. There are a number of texts on offer from the likes of Tacitus, Virgil and Ovid.