Whitgift School
Whitgift School Whitgift School

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The study of Classics promotes clarity of thought and attention to detail. It lends an additional perspective to the study of the present, and the more recent past, provided by other subjects, as well as, of course, the students’ own lives in the modern world.


Latin and Greek involve much more than the study of two dead languages. They offer a broad education in language, literature and civilisation, each of which imparts distinctive skills and knowledge. The Classics Department aims to demonstrate the vitality of the ancient world, and to foster intellectual curiosity and academic excellence, all while endeavouring to increase the enjoyment of a subject which provides a unique view of Britain’s place within western European tradition.


Boys in Year 6 study a discrete one year course of Ancient History focusing on the Ancient Roman and Greek civilisations. Latin is then optional from Year 7 to 13. Boys begin their study of Latin with the Cambridge Latin Course which takes them up to GCSE. Post-GCSE, boys may choose to study either A Level or IB Latin.

Boys can begin studying Classical Greek in Year 9, for which we use Taylor’s Greek to GCSE. Greek studies can be continued at A Level, or through IB Classical Greek. Classical Civilisation is an option open exclusively to A Level boys, in which we follow the extensive OCR syllabus. Modules include the epic poetry of Homer and Virgil (all in translation), Ancient Art and Architecture, the Persian Wars, Athenian Democracy, Greek Tragedy and Roman Comedy. No previous knowledge of either Latin or Greek is required to study Classical Civilisation.


The Classics Department runs a biennial trip to ancient world sites including Rome and the Bay of Naples, Athens and the Peloponnese, and Sicily. This offers the boys an excellent opportunity to visit some of the world’s most impressive and well-preserved classical sites. Additionally, we run several domestic trips to places such as Fishbourne, Bignor Village, and Verulamium, as well as to various museums. These include the Cast Museum, Cambridge, and the British Museum, in London. Classicists in the Sixth Form regularly attend lecture conferences and classical theatre productions. 

University Successes

Many boys choose to continue their study of the ancient world at university and beyond. Several go to Russell Group Universities, and we have a long tradition of Oxbridge success. We aim to support those wishing to continue with their study of Classics through provision of additional resources, mock interviews, special activities and study-day visits.

  • A trip to Rome

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