Classics forms an important and popular part of the School curriculum. All pupils study Latin or Classical Civilisation in the IVth Form. The majority go on to take a Classical subject for GCSE. Both subjects are offered on the VIth Form curriculum and are enjoying a record uptake. Ambitious pupils study Classical Greek in their spare time, thanks to the dedication and passion of our energetic department. Many  Cranleighans go on to study Classics-related courses at university.

Whether you study Classical Civilisation, Latin, Greek, or even all three, there is something for everyone: read about the adventures of Odysseus, defeating the one-eyed cannibal Cyclops or the witch who turned his men into pigs; study the foundation of western art, or philosophy, or politics, or literature; soak in some of the most powerful love poetry ever written. As one of the broadest subjects around, Classics provides the opportunity to mould your learning to what you find most fascinating, while having the intellectual clout to command respect at the highest level.

Classical Civilisation

Fourth Form & GCSE

Follow the adventures of the great hero Odysseus as he battles mythical monsters and strives to return home after the Trojan War. Experience the drama, the passion and the beauty of the Tragedy of Medea, a play by Euripides exploring themes of power, violence and sexual jealousy. Relive the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and the last days of Pompeii. Explore Greek mythology and the daily life of the Athenians through the medium of vase painting. Run in the footrace in the Olympic Games. Dig deep into the archaeology of Roman Britain. Investigate the live of the maddest Emperor of them all –Nero. This will give an idea of the range of topics we study. The course gives an overview of a very significant era of the world’s history and is both challenging and full of interest.  The formal title of the course is AQA GCSE Classical Civilisation 4020.  We offer a variety of trips both locally and further afield to Italy, Greece or somewhere even more exotic; we also attend plays, lectures and workshops.

Sixth Form

“ . . . . the glory that was Greece And the grandeur that was Rome.”

An inquiring mind and a willingness to immerse oneself in the civilisation of the past are the qualities necessary for success in Classical Civilisation: in return this course should be a rewarding one for you if you choose to take it as it links well with a variety of academic interests.

This course does not require you to have any previous knowledge of either GCSE Classical Civilisation or Latin. Classical Civilisation can be combined well with Philosophy of Religion, Art, History, English, Geography, Politics, Theatre Studies, French and Spanish and should not simply be seen as the preserve of those who have studied the ancient languages.
We study the civilizations of Greece and Rome in translation, which allows us to gain a broad appreciation of the famous literature and art of the ancient world. The topics we currently study are:


  • Unit Civ1A – Greek Architecture and Sculpture

You will explore the beautiful and fascinating sculpture and architecture of Archaic and Classical Greece. In this module you will relive the glory of Archaic and Classical Greece, studying a variety of sculptures and temples including the magnificent Parthenon in Athens and the great Temple of Zeus at Olympia. This visual topic combines elements of history of art with Greek social history and artistic appreciation to form a refreshingly different and interesting unit of study.

  • Unit Civ2A – Homer, The Iliad

We study the famous story of the great warrior Achilles and his role in the battle for Troy, as enshrined in the glorious epic poetry of Homer. How accurate was Brad Pitt’s portrayal of Achilles? This classic tale lives on and on!


  • Unit Civ3D – Augustus and the Foundation of the Principate

Augustus emerged from the chaos following the death of Julius Caesar and the ensuing bloody civil wars. Murder, intrigue, forced marriage, hypocrisy, betrayal: in other words, the foundation of modern Europe.

  • Unit Civ4C – Roman Epic

Virgil’s Aeneid is one of the fundamental texts of western literature. Follow Aeneas as he escapes from Troy to Italy to found the Roman race. You will see for yourself how Virgil explores the conflict between duty and emotion, the nature of human responsibility to family, country and gods, and what it takes to be a hero in the new age of Emperor Augustus’ Rome.



We offer a ‘Short Course’ GCSE in Classical Greek outside the normal timetable to academically able members of the IV, LV and UV Forms. The Short Course GCSE is ideal for pupils such as ours who are endeavouring to reach a high level level outside the timetable. It is suitable for pupils who are aiming for top universities in any discipline, and wish to challenge themselves intellectually and actively demonstrate their academic ambition and self-motivation.

Sixth Form

Classical Greek is one of the more challenging and rewarding courses open to Sixth Form pupils. A Level Classical Greek is an elite subject embarked on by only a few hundred pupils every year: it is an ideal preparation for candidates with ambitions for the top universities in any discipline, as it provides a benchmark of academic achievement and aspiration.
We offer the course as a two-year AS, with one module in the summer of Lower Sixth and one in the summer of Upper Sixth.

The first module, Classical Greek Verse and Prose Literature, involves the study of two texts in Classical Greek.

In the Upper Sixth the emphasis will move more firmly towards language work for the second module, Classical Greek Language.

In general, classes tend to be small and informal, providing a lively and mature forum for discussion and debate. We encourage you to aim for a high standard of written expression and argument, as well as a sensitive and perceptive interpretation of literature, history and culture, and a sophisticated understanding of language and idiom.


Fourth Form & GCSE

In the Fourth Form pupils follow a course specifically geared to the needs of Cranleighans. The course in general is intellectually very stimulating, often challenging but always rewarding, and helps develop extremely important ‘thinking’ skills in our pupils. One of our key aims is for pupils to appreciate the differences and similarities between the Romans and ourselves.

For GCSE, we study Roman literature in the original Latin. We may read about subjects as diverse as the eruption of Mt Vesuvius, the rebellion of Boudicca, the last stand of the druids, the murder of the Empress Messalina or the love affairs of the poet Catullus. These activities combine well to develop sophisticated literary, historical and linguistic skills in our pupils.

The exam comprises papers testing unseen translation, unseen comprehension, as well as the candidate’s knowledge and understanding of prose and verse set texts – there is also the opportunity to focus on key aspects of Roman Life, History and Culture.

Sixth Form

Latin, as one of the most highly regarded A-levels, is a natural choice for those aiming for elite universities. We follow the OCR AS and A2 courses. There is no coursework and all exams take place in the Summer Terms. The modules are as follows:
Unit L1 – Latin Language 1: unseen translation.
Unit L2 – Latin Verse and Prose Literature: evaluative questions based on your knowledge and understanding of literary texts (from a choice of poetry, letters, oratory, history and philosophy).

Unit L3 Latin Verse: A prescribed Verse set text and unseen Latin Verse tested by comprehension and translation.
Unit L4 Latin Prose: A prescribed Prose set text and unseen Latin Prose tested by comprehension and translation.

In general classes tend to be small, informal and provide a lively and mature forum for discussion and debate. A typical week’s work will involve unseen translation and more advanced grammar work; reading, annotating and discussing the set text; composing an essay or other piece of criticism; appraising the ancient world and looking at modern parallels and differences. We encourage you to aim for a high standard of written expression and argument, as well as a sensitive and perceptive interpretation of literature, history and culture, and a sophisticated understanding of language and idiom. We are also very active outside the classroom, with many opportunities to attend lectures or other events in Oxford and Cambridge.