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. 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. 

Latin and Greek

These subjects have similar course structures. In both, you will continue to improve your skills in the language, read original literature, and respond to ancient texts with increasing sophistication.

How will I be assessed?

Latin and Greek

For each of these subjects, you will be required to draw on your linguistic skills to translate and analyse short extracts from original texts; you will also put forward your own views on works of ancient literature whose style and content you will have studied in class.  In addition, there will be the option, should you wish to take it, of translating from English into the classical language.  

Desirable requirements

If you have enjoyed the subject and been successful (ideally, grade 7 or higher) at GCSE level, you will find the greater depth of study at A-Level rewarding and fulfilling. Both Latin and Greek combine well with most other subjects; there are particular links with English, History, and Modern Languages.  The two subjects also combine well together. 

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.