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The Marlborough Science Academy



The provision of Classical Civilisation at Marlborough allows the students to access a curriculum that is both inclusive and challenging. We aim to be innovative and effective in our teaching of the Classical world through lessons that are engaging and creative.

We strive to make an impact on the students we teach by offering learners the opportunity to study elements of the literature and visual/material culture of the classical world, and acquire an understanding of their social, historical and cultural contexts. Through their study of Classics, students will understand the legacy of the classical world, whilst developing their knowledge and skills in preparation for further educational opportunities.

Classical Civilisation Key Stage 4 

Students who choose to study Classical Civilisation at Key Stage 4 will follow the OCR Classical Civilisation (9 – 1) GCSE course.

The areas covered in the course include:

  • Myth and Religion – a comparative study of Greece and Rome
  • Roman city life – a close study of Roman culture and literature

The types of tasks that students complete vary between topics:

  • As part of the Myth and Religion topic students undertake an exploration of Roman and Greek gods, temples, rituals and sacrifice
  • Students also complete an evaluation of ancient Greek and Roman texts in translation, including stories and myths about journeying to the Underworld and the legendary hero Hercules.

Students that study Classical Civilisation also have the opportunity to take part in a school trip to either Italy or Greece. In previous years students have visited ancient Roman sites such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon in Rome, as well as the ancient site of Pompeii destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD. Ancient Greek sites such as Athens, Delphi and Olympia are also popular destinations on the Greece trip, and prove extremely useful in expanding students’ knowledge of topics learnt in the classroom. These are excellent opportunities for students to gain an appreciation for the ancient architecture and culture that Greece and Italy have to offer.

The course is assessed through:

  • Examination:

Myth and Religion – One 1 hour and 30 minute written paper worth 50% of the final grade

Roman city life – One 1 hour and 30 minute written paper worth 50% of the final grade

The Classical Civilisation course equips students with the skills to access a variety of career paths. Studying classics highlights students’ ability to learn and comprehend challenging subjects, develops their ability to research, collate and analyse materials and teaches them to critically evaluate resources in order to formulate arguments which can then be presented competently. Students also have the ability to work alone or within a team and to think imaginatively. These are all skills that would be transferrable to a number of different jobs ranging from the political world to a role in the legal profession such as museum education, exhibitions officer, archivist or historic buildings inspector. Conservation officer or archaeologist are other careers that knowledge of Classical Civilisations can be used for.

Classical Civilisation Key Stage 5 

Students who choose to study Classical Civilisation at Key Stage 5 follow the OCR Classical Civilisation A level course.

Studying Classics allows students the opportunity to study diverse topics and sources, including both literature and visual/material culture, which will inspire and motivate learners to engage further with the classical world. Miss Garrett is our specialist teacher who studied Classical Studies at degree level. She has extensive experience and is eager to share her love of the subject. Her specialism is ancient literature, which is studied widely across the topics of the course.

Course Content:

Classical Civilisation focuses on the civilisations of Greece and Rome, and is a wide-ranging subject involving the study of literature, material culture, ancient thought and ideas, and the ancient historical context. From women in the ancient world, to the study of religious beliefs and ancient acts of intolerance, Classical Civilisation involves interesting discussions that are directly relevant to today’s world. The A Level course combines the study of the literature, society, art and culture of classical Greece and Rome.

  • The world of the hero: This component will explore both Greek and Roman epic, with the study of Homer’s Odyssey as well as Virgil’s Aeneid, arguably the greatest works of ancient literature. The works of Homer are the foundation of the Western literary canon, and the Greeks themselves considered them the cornerstone of Greek culture. In his Aeneid, Virgil pays homage to Homer, but also to Rome’s first emperor, Augustus. With their unique composition, and exciting tales of gods and heroes, these works of literature form an excellent grounding for exploration of the classical world.
  • Culture and the arts (Greek art): The 6th– 4th centuries BC was a period of great change in the Greek world, and this is reflected in the art which was produced. Students will have the opportunity to explore and engage with a range of the visual arts produced by the Greeks in 6th– 4th centuries BC, including free-standing sculpture, architectural sculpture and vase-painting. Students will be able to appreciate the profound effect Greek art has had on the art of later periods. This component will hone learners’ visual and analytical skills, as well as develop their ability to offer critical analysis.
  • Beliefs and ideas (Love and relationships): Ideas about love and relationships are key aspects of the literature, thoughts, and ethics of any society. This component offers the opportunity for students to recognise and relate to the passions, frustrations and delights of love in the ancient world. The ethical questions raised by these ideas continue to be wrestled over by successive generations and this unit will generate interesting and important discussions about love, desire, sexuality and the institution of marriage. Poets and philosophers studied include Seneca, Plato, Ovid and Sappho – one of the very few female poets of the ancient world.


Students will sit 3 exams for each component of the A level:

  • The world of the hero: a 2 hour 20 minute written examination worth 40% of the final grade
  • Culture and the arts: a 1 hour 45 minute written examination worth 30% of the final grade
  • Beliefs and Ideas: a 1 hour 45 minute written examination worth 30% of the final grade

Classics combines well with most humanities subjects and English Literature. It develops the communication of ideas and an understanding of the views of others, analysis and interpretation of evidence and investigative research skills. The study of classical antiquity will give students a better understanding of our own identities within the global community and of how the world has become what it is today. Employers therefore look favourably on these skills, as they are adaptable to almost any line of work. Occupations such as law, journalism, politics and writing are just some of the areas where Classics is particularly important. It could be useful in any workplace due to the development of analytical and communication skills.