The study of Classics at Berkhamsted divides into two routes for GCSE and A Level: the study of the Latin language and the study of Classical Civilisation. Both are wonderful opportunities to connect with the rich and inspiring civilisations of the Greeks and Romans. We put emphasis on first rate teaching and learning, but we also want you to widen your enjoyment by involvement in wider opportunities outside the classroom.
Year 7 Italy Trip
Each year we organise a trip to Rome and the Bay of Naples. This trip is offered to pupils who study Latin and it is organised to widen understanding of the ancient Roman world. “Must see” places include the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in the city of Rome as well as the House of Caecilius in Pompeii. It is a great trip and the educational value of it is enormous. Be warned that we limit numbers to forty pupils maximum.
An Informal Evening of Classical Entertainment
We hold this event in Old Hall every few years and we invite participation from classes which are learning Latin or Classical Civilisation. Everyone is welcomed to attend and to show in an informal setting one aspect of their work. It could be a short presentation or PowerPoint on a topic of interest or perhaps a chance to dress up in a toga and present a short play in English or indeed in Latin. A great occasion for younger pupils to see what is going on in the lessons of older groups. Parents love it too.
JACT Latin Summer Camp
This is a residential summer school held each year at Wells Cathedral School and students from Berkhamsted are invited to attend. Not only is there excellent preparation and revision for GCSE and A Level Latin students, but there is also a wealth of fun activities to join. The focus is Latin language, literature and culture, but after that there are organised excursions to Bath and Wales, followed by an informal Classical drama production and workshops on Roman cookery. It could be helpful to know that the school offers bursaries to support students with the costs of residential trips like this one.
Trip to Greece
Older pupils in Year 10 and above are able to participate in the Classics Trip to Greece held every two years in the October half-term. The next trip will be organised by Mr Wille and it takes place in Michaelmas Term 2022. The group flies to Athens and then tours the main archaeological sites of Greece. You will have a chance to visit amazing sites, such as Delphi, Olympia and Mycenae. The trip lasts for a week and is a fantastic way to extend your knowledge of the ancient Greek world.
British Museum and the National Gallery
In Year 8 we take our Classical Civilisation students on a lightning trip to London to visit the British Museum and the National Gallery. The theme is Classical mythology and we look at a small selection of art to see how ancient myths are depicted through the ages. A central theme for us is the Trojan War. This fits perfectly with the Year 8 course in Classical Civilisation.
Essay Competition for Latin and Classical Civilisation
The Golden Sponge Stick Competition is open to Latin pupils in Year 7. This is a creative writing competition with a very special prize for the winner. If you have read anything by Caroline Lawrence, you will know what a great writing she is. Her Roman mysteries series is set in the ancient Roman world. Have a look at her website here: http://www.romanmysteries.com/ . You will not be disappointed. The task is to write in English a mystery story or an exciting thriller set in ancient Pompeii. The more you include references to topics you have studied in class, the better. Why not try to put in short Latin phrases like “salvete!”
The London Latin Reading Competition
If you are studying Latin, reading competitions like this can be great fun. Younger years are asked to prepare short plays from the Cambridge Latin Course and students perform them in front of judges with prizes given to those who bring the stories to life. Last year we entered several categories and won gold, silver and bronze medals. Students also have great fun.
Great for testing your Latin vocabulary
Another great site for testing yourself
The most important website for Latin students at Berkhamsted. Here you can use the online tester, see the webbooks for all stages of the Cambridge Latin Course and access e-learning resources. It is also great for GCSE Classical Civilisation students, as there is much on the OCR Rome City Life topic as well.
Here is a picture from the website http://www.bestlatin.blogspot.co.uk. If you study Latin, you will find that this is a really interesting site. See if you can work out what the proverb is!
Quotations from students:
“The Latin trip to Italy in Year 7 was the best school trip ever! Really!”
“Our Classics teacher gives us incredible tips about how to learn. Mind-mapping and flashcards are his favourites, but I like playing Kahoot with my friends.”
“Now I see Latin words and derivations everywhere. If you give me a very technical or scientific word, I bet that I can work out what it means!”
Both libraries subscribe to the Classics’ sixth form magazine “Omnibus”. The latest magazine is the seventy-sixth issue, so it has been going for some considerable time. It contains articles on the Classical world, including an update of competitions to enter. Interesting articles in recent editions include “Did the Romans love their children?” and “The role of the gods in the Odyssey”. The magazine is very much to be recommended to you. Here is a link to follow: http://www.jact.org/publications/omnibus.htm
There are hundreds of amazing academics out there who have dedicated their lives to themes like the Greek Theatre, Homeric Epic, Rome under Augustus and much more, whose knowledge and expertise would be very useful for school students. Previously, these academics have been limited to visiting the school one-by-one, but they can now share their knowledge with us online using Massolit. https://www.massolit.io/ The school has access to a vast range of short lectures, recorded for viewing on your Surface-Pro. They cover the most important areas of our courses and are in bit sized chunks for easy understanding. Great for independent research at school and at home.
The British Museum
The British Museum is an important London location for all A Level students of Latin and Classical Civilisation. The department encourages you to visit it regularly to ensure that you can widen your exposure to the ancient world. The website here can be used to see whether there are relevant or imminent exhibitions to interest you. Getting to the British Museum could not be easier: a train journey for 35 minutes, followed by a ten minute walk. All very easy and a very useful place indeed!
A Level Study Days
Sovereign Education offers a series of A Level study days on parts of your Classical Civilisation or Latin syllabus. These tend to take place in a venue that is very close to Euston Station, so access from Berkhamsted is very easy. In recent years we have attended courses on Greek tragedy and Homer’s Odyssey, but there are also other courses which could well interest us on Latin set texts. Here is the link:
The Greek Trip
The Greek Trip is a great way to widen your knowledge of the ancient world especially as it allows you to give depth of understanding to your studies, so instead of just talking about the oracle at Delphi, you can actually see for yourselves where the Pythia sat and gained her inspiration in the sanctuary of Apollo. Once seen, never forgotten.
Classical Essay Competitions
Each year there are a number of essay competitions for Latin and Classical Civilisation on Classical themes, which we encourage students to enter. Recent competitions have been organised by a variety of universities and colleges, including St Hugh’s College, Oxford.
Other useful links are:
Have a look at this virtual tour of the British Museum. See the some of the greatest objects in the world from your sofa!
Kahoot is a free game based learning platform that makes it fun to learn – try quizzes on Greek art and Greek tragedy.
Access to the OCR website is very important, as both Latin and Classical Civilisation courses in the sixth form follow OCR specifications:
“The A Level course is fantastic and now I want to study Latin at university. It is such an important part of my life! Thank you, Berkhamsted.”
“I took my parents to the British Museum in London during the holidays and amazed them (or I think I did) with my knowledge. They want to study the ancient world too!”
“Delphi is the most amazing place in Greece and in the world. The more I travel, the more I want to go back there!” The home of the ancient oracle has a magical aura about it. Wow!”