Latin and Classical Civilisation are popular at Bedales with a strong take-up at all ages. Students begin their experience of Latin in Block 1 (Year 7) at Bedales Prep, Dunhurst. In Blocks 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11), we offer Latin GCSE as well as our Bedales Assessed Course (BAC) in Ancient Civilisations. As well as work done in lessons, there are visiting speakers to Bedales to enrich our appreciation of the ancient world, involvement in competitions and trips to classical sites.

Classical Civilisations
  • Block 3 (Year 9)
  • Blocks 4 and 5 (Years 10 and 11)
  • Sixth Form


Latin is taught in Block 3 using a course developed within the department specifically for Bedales requirements. It provides a thorough grounding in the basics of grammar and syntax and is suitable for all abilities, from absolute beginners to those who have done Common Entrance. More able students are given additional reading passages to consolidate and stretch their learning. Formal training in grammar is supplemented by the use of audio-visual and ICT resources. The study of the language is presented in the context of the culture of the Romans. Students will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of Latin so that they are well placed to continue it to GCSE if they choose to do so. Latin's influence on and connections to both English and the Romance languages is stressed throughout the course.

BAC Ancient Civilisations

Ancient civilisations are the foundation of modern ones, and their relevance can be found everywhere. This Bedales Assessed Course introduces students to the history, literature, art and societies of several ancient civilisations in the Mediterranean area and beyond. Their interactions with each other, and their legacy to us, are studied through topics such as the invention of history as the Greeks confronted a rival civilisation in the Persian Wars, the development of architecture from Stone Age Britain through Egypt to Greece, the achievement of Alexander the Great, and the roles and status of women across Celtic, Egyptian, Greek and Roman societies. There is ample opportunity for students to explore topics through independent learning and practical activities. Assessment includes traditional testing, project work, and controlled assessment tasks.

GCSE Latin

The aim of the Latin GCSE course is to give students an understanding of the civilisations, literatures and languages which have profoundly influenced many modern societies. Students will become competent in the ancient languages and read a selection of original prose and verse literature. Most recently, Livy, Cicero and Virgil have been studied for Latin. They also acquire very valuable transferable skills in deciphering and decoding material, spotting key detail, and making connections between ancient societies and their customs and our own.

At Sixth Form, Latin is only open to those who have studied it at GCSE level, whereas Classical Civilisation is a standalone course either open to those who wish to try something new at A Level or for committed students of the BAC in Ancient Civilisations who wish to enlarge their study of the Classical world.


The A Level course in Latin is based equally on the study of the ancient language and on a detailed reading of texts by ancient authors – at least two in prose and two in verse - in the original language and partly in English. We also explore the languages by means of the challenging but valuable discipline of prose composition (English to Latin). In the second year of the course, students read an even broader selection of original literature as well as consolidating grammar and broadening vocabulary in preparation for the verse unseen translation and prose composition papers.

Classical Civilisation

Classical Civilisation allows students to experience the legacy of Greece and Rome without the need to learn Latin and Greek. It can be studied on its own but it complements other subjects involving the study of literature, history and art.

Three modules are studied: the core of the course is The World of the Hero, which involved studying Greek and Roman epic poetry and is worth 40% of the paper. Two additional modules are worth 30% each, one entitled 'Culture and the Arts', and the other 'Beliefs and Ideas'. Within these components, specific modules are available covering topics such as Greek Theatre, Greek Art, The Invention of the Barbarian, Politics of the Late Roman Republic, Athenian Democracy, and several others. The exact modules on offer will vary according to staff availability and student preference.

A Level Classics offers a good foundation for Classical Studies and Ancient History at university, and in recent years students have gone on to pursue Classics and Ancient Languages at Cambridge, UCL, Dublin, Durham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, and St Andrew’s, to name the most recent. Students will ideally have attained at least a B grade in GCSE (or equivalent) English Literature, History or Ancient Civilisations.

Examining Board: OCR
Head of Department: Tristan Wilson (Latin), Matthew Yeo (Ancient & Classical Civilisation)