There is a very strong tradition of classics teaching at TR.
The School’s founder, Christopher Trevor-Roberts, had an outstanding talent for teaching Latin, as those fortunate enough to have been taught by him will attest. His pupils mastered the language with ease and enjoyment.
However, tradition is not the reason that Classical History, Latin and Greek still play a much valued part in the school’s curriculum. What is taught in the Classics department can expedite and enrich all other subjects: promoting analytical thinking and deductive reasoning, developing linguistic skills and vocabulary, providing historical and cultural context, and inspiring creativity.
The pupils’ introduction to the classical world begins in Quartus, with a year of Classical History.
During this time the pupils investigate the history, geography, art, literature, scientific achievements and religious beliefs of the ancient Greek world. Greek myths are a gateway to their studies, and they are returned to again and again to illuminate the subject matter.
The main aim of this course is to encourage a creative response, artistic and literary, to all the material encountered. As well as a range of factual essays and projects, poems and stories are written, vases, musical instruments and mosaics are created and fabulous drawings are made. This is, of course, in line with the great European tradition of constantly re-interpreting the cultural achievements of antiquity.
These activities will enrich each pupil’s life-long response to western art, literature, music, theatre, and even cinema, by allowing them to recognise and understand themes, references, and images gleaned from antiquity.
Quartus have been looking at Greek vases, and making or drawing their own
The next step in the pupils’ classical adventure is the learning of Latin. This begins in Tertius and carries on till Primus.
Pupils who leave us at 11+ will have received a thorough grounding in Latin grammar and vocabulary, and developed the skills necessary for translating simple sentences from and into Latin. This will stand them in good stead for continuing Latin at their senior school.
Pupils who stay with us till Primus expand their knowledge of the language and hone their translation skills. In the June of their Primus year all pupils sit the Common Entrance exam, with the vast majority taking Level 3 or, if appropriate, a scholarship paper. On reaching this level of achievement in Latin, pupils will find they are only a short step away from mastering the GCSE Latin syllabus.
Of much greater value than this, though, is that their engagement with Latin will have enriched their vocabulary, taught them how to write grammatically, familiarised them with many elements of modern European languages, invigorated their memory skills, and given a huge boost to their puzzle-solving abilities.
During the summer term, Secundus pupils are given a short taster course in Classical Greek to help them decide whether they will go on and study the language more deeply. Pupils whose Latin is strong are encouraged to do this, though it is not compulsory.
Those who do choose it are then prepared for the higher level (Level 2) of the Common Entrance exam, or, if appropriate, a scholarship exam. As with the Latin, pupils who have studied Greek at TR will have covered a substantial part of the Classical Greek GCSE syllabus.