Bolton School Sixth Form Boys

Classical Civilisation

Why Study Classics at Bolton School?

A student taking Latin, Greek, or Classical Civilisation in the Sixth Form at Bolton School can be confident of receiving a classical education of the most lively and academically rigorous kind.  For all three subjects, each individual unit is taught by one member of staff; this allows for each topic area to be taught by a specialist in that particular topic.  Furthermore, all four members of the Department are able to teach all three subjects to A- Level, including Classical Greek, a subject taken by fewer than 300 students nationally each year; at Bolton School, A-Level Greek students from the Boys’ and Girls’ Divisions are often taught together as one class, creating a co-operative and dynamic learning environment.  Staff and pupils alike contribute to the excellent academic profile of classical subjects at Bolton School:  for example, Sixth Form students give presentations to their peers at Senior Classical Society and senior students assist staff in running a classical mentoring scheme for younger pupils.  Students at Bolton are particularly well-motivated in their study of the classical world; as a consequence, they achieve impressive results in public examinations and secure places at leading universities including, in recent years, Cambridge, Oxford, and Yale.

What will I study?

Students may take one, two or, where timetabling allows, three classical subjects at A-Level. We also offer Greek and Latin. The study of one classical subject is a thoroughly worthwhile academic pursuit, opening up a wide range of opportunities at university and beyond (see below, under ‘Where will it lead?’). Those considering studying the ancient world at university level might well opt to take two or three classical subjects in the Sixth Form. Each classical subject has its own particular content and course of study.

Classical Civilisation is the study of Greek and Roman culture in translation.  You will learn key aspects of two cultures that set the template for modern western civilisation.  Lessons focus on close study of the core texts and artistic materials.  You will develop analytical skills, and will be encouraged not only to read around each topic but also to express your own views on what you have studied; this may be done in class discussion, group work, student presentations and essays. 

How will I be assessed?

This subject is assessed through a combination of short answer questions, context questions and essays.  Context questions require you to show your understanding and appreciation of short extracts of text in English, or of photographs of artefacts or works of art.  Essay questions require a broader approach, where you are asked to create an argument built around specific examples taken from the text or collection of artefacts you have studied.  

Desirable requirements

Classical Civilisation is a non-linguistic subject and open to all Sixth Form students, as no previous knowledge is required.  The course will enhance the understanding of the ancient (and, indeed, the modern) world for those who have studied a classical subject or subjects at GCSE, but also caters for those who have had no contact with the ancient world but have a desire to know more.  You do not need to have studied Latin, Greek, or Classical Civilisation at any level.  If you have enjoyed, and had success with, subjects such as English and History, Classical Civilisation would make an ideal choice.  The subject combines well with most other subjects and provides the key transferable skills lauded by employers.   

Where will it lead?

Studying any one of our three Classics subjects will help to convince admissions tutors and employers of your analytical skills, empathy, and academic rigour. In the words of one recruiter for industry, ‘Classics produces an ordered mind, [and] an ability to present cases precisely and concisely’ – a skill valued highly by universities and employers alike.  In recent years, several of our students have pursued subjects directly related to Classics at prestigious universities. However, this is not the only option available to those who have studied classical subjects at A-Level:  a good grade will allow the student to choose from a broad range of university courses, whether containing a classical component or not. Classics courses at universities including Oxbridge are open to those who have studied the subject only in translation. University classicists enter a varied range of careers including solicitor’s training, computing, industry and commerce, banking, publishing and journalism. Perhaps most importantly, your study of the classical world at Bolton School will have enabled you to build up a range of skills and abilities that will allow you to present yourself as well-informed, articulate, and persuasive – crucial attributes for life beyond the Sixth Form.