We are a thriving department at the heart of the academic life of the School. We have a team of dedicated and passionate members of staff whose expertise covers an extensive range of subject specialisms. We teach three subjects: Latin, Classical Greek and Classical Civilisation.
Classics gives students a sense of the inherent interest of the Roman and Greek worlds, and their great influence over later eras. By studying Classics, pupils are also supported in their study of many other academic disciplines. For example, study of Latin grammar equips students superbly for study of modern foreign languages, promotes logical thought and problem-solving and requires precision. On the other hand, the opportunity to study Greek and Roman civilisations from a distance stimulates vital consideration of social, political and cultural values, encouraging healthy comparison with modern life and opening a wealth of avenues for exploration.
Latin is studied by all girls in Years 7-9, and is then offered at GCSE, where Classical Greek is also available as a two year ‘ab initio’ course from Year 10. In the Sixth Form both languages are offered via International Baccalaureate and A Level routes, alongside A Level Classical Civilisation, a non-language based course focusing on Classical literature and history.
Each year a number of girls apply to read Classics at university, either as a straight Classics course or as part of dual honours e.g. Classics and English, Classics and Modern Foreign Languages or Ancient and Modern History.
A full programme of extra-curricular events is organised for students to complement their academic studies and encourage further exploration of the ancient world. Trips to sites and museums in the UK, plus an annual trip overseas, for example, to Greece, Rome and the Bay of Naples or Sicily, augment the girls’ experiences beyond the classroom. The Upper School and Sixth Form are particularly rich in opportunities, including lecture days, trips to see productions of Classical plays, visits and talks by academics, involvement in symposia with students from Eton and Whitgift School, and visits to nearby university events in Cambridge, London and Oxford.
The annual Classics Symposium, combining two guest speakers with a Greek-themed dinner for Classics students in Years 10-13 is a firm favourite amongst both staff and pupils. Our Classics Society, run by Sixth Form girls, invites outside speakers to the school. The Classics society committee also runs the Middle School Classics Club and organises Classics Week, which features a series of events to promote the subjects within the School community. Year 11 students produce a Classical journal for other students, entitled Achilles’ Reel.
In recent years, NLCS students have enjoyed considerable success in national competitions such as the national Latin reading competition for school pupils, the Jowett Sendelar Essay Competition (Years 7-9), Year 12 essay competitions run by Oxbridge colleges, and the International CICERO Latin translation competition.
Members of the department and Sixth Form students are also involved in outreach programmes within the wider community, including a very successful and popular Minimus Club at a local primary school.