Aims

 

Townley’s Classical Civilisation Department aims to give all students the skills and enthusiasm to engage with the ancient world in a meaningful way.  Students who elect to take Classical Civilisation have the opportunity to read some of the greatest literature, appreciate the most beautiful art and investigate the most exciting lives and societies in the history of the Western World.  We aim to deliver courses which enable students to Landscape Ruininterrogate evidence with the skills of a historian, as well as to engage with literature from the perspective of an English specialist, and appreciate art and architecture for its aesthetic beauty as well as its cultural significance.  Students of Classical Civilisation are able to develop all these skills and, as such, boast that they are generalists able to view ancient cultures from a holistic standpoint.

 The department has an excellent record of high exam results, with 81% of our students achieving grades A*-A at GCSE, and 100% of our students achieving at A*-B at A2 in 2014.   

Indeed, our 2015 leaving cohort achieved the “best performance by girls taking Classical Civilisation at an English Grammar School” by the Good Schools Guide Awards.

 

 

 

 

Staff and Resources

 

Townley’s Classical Civilisation Department sits within the highly successful Humanities Cluster.  The subject is led by two full-time specialist teachers and is based in the Classical Civilisation subject room.  Students have booksaccess to a library of selected Classical texts and study resources, as well as a range of online tools, which enable them to deepen their understanding of the Classical World.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key Stage 4 - GCSE Classical Civilisation

 

Why Choose Classical Civilisation?

 

Classical Civilisation is highly regarded by colleges, universities and employers.  This is because it is a multi-disciplinary subject that encourages students to examine issues from multiple viewpoints and to hone a range of valuable skills.  Students have the chance to discuss great works of literature and art, as well as hone their historical skills by using visual and written sources to learn about the ancient past.  They also Book & Figurespractice debate and develop strong written communication skills.  Students who choose this course will have the opportunity to examine the mythology, history, literature and society of ancient Greece and Rome, examining significant events and exciting individuals as well as the “ordinary” lives of common citizens.

Around 80 students are currently taking GCSE Classical Civilisation at Townley.  Students follow the OCR board syllabus, which gives the opportunity to study at least two different ancient societies as well as works of art and literature.  If you are interested in studying Classical Civilisation at A Level, GCSE Classical Civilisation is recommended.

 

Assessment Structure:

 

There are four main areas of Study:

  1. City life in the Classical World: an in-depth examination of the society, religion, government, entertainment, education and households of Athens.

  2. Epic & Myth: a literature module in which students read selections from  Homer’s great adventure story the Odyssey.

  3. Community life in the Classical World: an exploration of a smaller community in antiquity, either the warrior society of Sparta or the archaeological remains of Pompeii.

  4. Controlled Assessment: an essay, researched and completed by students during class time.  Each year the exam board provides a choice of questions from topics including the ancient Olympic Games, tragic or comic drama, Roman Britain and art & architecture.

 

Each module is worth 25% of the overall qualification and all take the form of a written examination apart from the Controlled Assessment, which is usually completed in Year 11.

 

Student Testimony:

 

Classical Civilisation has been interesting and insightful as I have been able to transfer useful skills from these lessons to my other subjects, helping me to excel. Nene E

I chose to study Classical Civilisation because I’ve always been interested in the culture of ancient Greece. So far, we’ve studied Greek religion and Athenian society, and are currently reading The Odyssey. I really enjoy this subject because you get to study an aspect of history that isn’t on the key stage 3 curriculum, and lean in a variety of ways. If you want to try an interesting new subject, choose Classics! Rachael D

 

 

Skills:

 

The skills you will acquire over the 2 year GCSE course are valuable and well respected by Oxbridge colleges, who identify Classical Civilisation as a preferred course for applicants.  You will be able to look Text & Notes in Bookcritically at evidence (both written and visual) and make informed judgements about the ancient world.  You will be encouraged to make links between the societies of the ancient world and our modern society and see how antiquity has impacted the world we live in today.  You will be able to converse on the subjects of myth, great literature and drama, philosophy, art, architecture, archaeology and ancient history.

 

Related Careers / A Level Progression:

 

Classical Civilisation is a multi-disciplinary subject, containing elements of English Literature, Art, Architecture, History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Politics.  As such, it is highly valued by colleges, universities and potential employers because Classicists have honed a wide range of useful skills.

The study of any Classics subject would benefit those students interested in, among others, a career in Law, the Civil Service, Politics, the Media, Finance, Teaching, Art, Medicine, Publishing, Marketing, Journalism and working in museums and archives.

The subject is available at A Level but study of the GCSE is not a requirement. If the GCSE has been taken however, a B grade would normally be required to join the A Level course. The subject is assessed by means of essays, so good written English skills are required.

Key Stage 5 - A Level Classical Civilisation

 

At AS level you will study two units: Greek Tragedy in Context and Homer’s Odyssey and Society. Both units give you the opportunity to engage closely with great works of ancient literature and the social and cultural contexts in which they were produced. Within Greek Tragedy for example, you will examine ancient Athenian theatrical festivals and the conventions of theatre performance, as well as exploring thematic topics including: the nature of tragedy; the role of gods, prophecies and fate in the world; moral concepts such as justice and revenge, and violence and death.

Within your study of the Odyssey you will come to understand the genre of epic poetry, studying the 6th form student
second oldest text in all of Western literature.  This is a fantastical tale of gods, monsters and heroes, but also sheds light on the ancient world’s attitudes to women, slaves, war, family and civilisation itself.

At A2 you will expand your study of the ancient world to consider Roman as well as the Greek literature.
You will study two modules: Virgil and the World of the Hero and Comic Drama in the Ancient World.  Both modules give you the chance to appreciate the historical, political, social and literary contexts, directly comparing texts between the two cultures. 

Virgil’s great epic story of Rome’s mythical foundation is examined from two distinct angles:  as a product of its time, reflecting an unstable world of power struggle, political intrigue and propaganda; and as a successor to Homer’s great Greek epic the Iliad.

You will study four comedy plays from different periods of the ancient world, from the fabulous and outrageously satirical comedies of the Athenian Aristophanes, to the romantic comedies of the Roman Plautus.

AS:

 

Course Requirements:

 

To study Classical Civilisation at AS level, students are required to have a B grade in GCSE English Literature.

An interest in History and Literature is crucial to this course. You will get to grips with some of the most fascinating texts ever produced and explore exotic societies and distant lives, so an inquisitive mind and desire to delve into the unfamiliar will be invaluable. Strong essay writing skills are also required.

Skills:

 

The skills you will acquire over the course are valuable and well respected by Oxbridge and Russell Group universities. You will be able to use knowledge of historical and social context to inform your understanding of literature; and you will be able to use your understanding of literature to deepen your insights into ancient culture.  You will be able to look critically at evidence (both written and visual) and make informed judgements about the ancient world.  You will be encouraged to make links between the societies of the ancient world and our modern society and see how antiquity has impacted the world we live in today.  You will be able to converse on the subjects of myth, great literature and drama, philosophy, art, architecture, archaeology and ancient

Assessment Structure:

 

Classical Civilisation uses the OCR AS specification. The two units studied at AS level, Greek Tragedy and Homer’s Odyssey, are both assessed by examinations at the end of the year. Each unit has an exam of 1 hour 30 minutes, comprised of two sections. The first is text analysis, in which the students are given extracts from the texts they have studied and are asked to comment on them; the second is section is a more open extended essay question. This format is the same for both units.

 

Student Testimony:

 

"Classical Civilisation is a great subject that combines all the interest of History with addictive fantasy and thought-provoking tales from one of the earliest and greatest works of Western Literature – the Odyssey – as well as several plays. It is a subject I enjoyed at GCSE level but find even more enticing at AS Level as my studies have become more in depth and sophisticated. Definitely a subject you can’t regret taking".


Emma Washington, current Year 13

 

 “Classical Civilisation is a beautiful insight into the development of the ancient world and how this sparked modern art and literature.  People should take this subject because it’s the only lesson I ever want to go to!”

 


 Catherine Tappenden, current Year 12

 

 

 A2: 

 6th former reading

Skills:

 

In addition to the skills you have developed at AS, there will be increased emphasis on comparison between the cultures and literature of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. This is called the synoptic element, and you will develop your ability to critically compare texts and comment on the intertextual relationships among your set texts.

Assessment Structure:

 

Classical Civilisation uses the OCR A2 specification. The two units studied at A2, Comic Drama and Virgil and the World of the Hero, are both assessed by examinations at the end of the year. Each unit has an exam of 2 hours, comprised of two sections. The first is text analysis, in which the students are given extracts from the texts they have studied and are asked to comment on them; the second is section is a more open extended essay question, looking specifically at comparing the Greek and Roman texts. This format is the same for both units.

 

Related Courses and Careers:

 

Classical Civilisation is a multi-disciplinary subject, containing elements of English Literature, Art, Architecture, History, Philosophy, Archaeology, Religious Studies and Politics.  As such, it is highly valued by colleges, universities and potential employers because Classicists have honed a wide range of useful skills.

The study of any Classics subject would benefit those students interested in, among others, a career in Law, the Civil Service, Politics, the Media, Finance, Teaching, Art, Medicine, Publishing, Marketing, Journalism and working in museums and archives.

 

Enrichment

Clubs

 

The Classical Civilisation Department is proud to offer a range of enrichment opportunities to suit the broad interests of our students.

Classics Film Club gives students the opportunity to watch cinema inspired by the literature, myths and Film clubhistory of the Classical World.  Screenings are followed by informal discussion of how and why the filmmakers have adapted the ancient material for modern audiences.  In the past students have seen and discussed: Disney’s Hercules, Ray Harryhausen’s special-effects spectacular Jason & the Argonauts, Clash of the Titans and Pompeii.  This club is open to all students Years 9-13.


For those who are interested in the study of ancient languages, Year 12 students are able to select Latin for Beginners as part of the Rounded & Grounded Programme.

 

Trips & Visits

 

The Classical Civilisation Department maintains excellent links with top universities and is often able to arrange enrichment opportunities for our students. Our students have been fortunate enough to be given a guest lecture from Professor G. Trimble of Oxford University on ‘How we get our Classical Texts’, which helped to put their own studies into broad historical context. Year 12 students were also given the opportunity to visit the Faculty of Classics at Cambridge University to see what studying Classical subjects beyond school can be like. Year 13 students were able to attend a day of lectures from eminent Classics scholars on the topic of Virgil’s Aeneid ahead of their A Level examinations.

We are also lucky to be able to take students into London to take advantage of the fantastic museums and theatres of the capital. In the past we have taken Year 10-11 students to see a performance of Euripides’ tragic Bacchae, and our Year 12s to see Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche in a new production of Sophocles’ Antigone at the Barbican Centre, as well as the critically-acclaimed Oresteia Trilogy as part of the Almeida’s Greek Season.

Student GroupThe Classical Civilisation Department also has a long history of running residential trips abroad to Greece and Rome.  These trips give students the chance to visit sites of great archaeological significance and beauty.  What could be more impactful for a student’s understanding of ancient drama than to perform in the Theatre of Epidaurus? Or for their appreciation of the ancient Olympic games than to compete in a footrace at the Stadium at Olympia?

KS5 students are encouraged to take advantage of numerous competitions, summer schools and excursions available outside of school.  This year students have entered the St John’s College Oxford essay competition and are in the process of applying for summer schools in subjects ranging from ancient languages to archaeology.

 

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