Classical Civilisation


Why study Classical Civilisation? 

This subject allows students to study aspects of the Greek and Roman world through history, literature in translation and archaeological evidence. The course has a range of options through the Greek and Roman world, to ensure that pupils get a balanced view of the ancient world. In Year 12 we start looking at the ancient Greek world, through literature and archaeology, before moving on to the Roman world in Year 13. The students will be able to reflect on the differences and advancements from the Greek and Roman worlds through Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid. Through reading ancient texts in translation, students will develop skills of critical analysis and evaluation of literary techniques. They will also focus on archaeological material and learn how to make connections between different types of material and topics. In Year 12, pupils will be introduced to visual and archaeological sources in studying Greek Theatre, which will be carried through in Year 13 to studying similar sources in Greek religion. Pupils will develop skills necessary for further academic study at university level, including reading and scrutinising academics’ views on topics. The curriculum is challenging and we have high ambitions for all of our pupils in Classical Civilisation, with many students using the subject as a gateway to university courses. The study of the ancient world allows pupils to reflect on their understanding of modern concepts of democracy, the rights of humans and equality, through contrast to slavery and the treatment of women in the ancient world. Our Classics teacher is passionate about the subject and offers lessons that are challenging, interactive and overall fun. As the subject is new to study at A Level, there are exciting new topics to explore and skills to develop so that at the end of Year 13 students will be confident in arguing their points of view in a succinct and coherent way.

Links to GCSE

It is not necessary for students to have studied GCSE History or GCSE Classical Civilisation but it is essential for them to have a good command of English. All modules are assessed through examinations.


Students follow the OCR Syllabus with modules including The World of the Hero, Greek Religion and Greek Theatre.


Students take part in Study Days at the universities of Durham and Newcastle. Every opportunity is made to visit appropriate Roman sites in England, e.g. the British Museum, and abroad if possible.  Visiting speakers from prestigious universities are invited to discuss associated topics. Students are also invited to see productions of Greek tragedies in the North East.


Classics Sixth Form Implementation Year 13

Classics Sixth Form Implementation Year 12

Classical Civilisation Curriculum Map

Year 12:
The World of the Hero – the Odyssey
Greek Theatre
Year 13:
The World of the Hero – the Aeneid
Greek Religion

The World of the Hero focuses on two epic poems, the Odyssey and the Aeneid, looking at how the authors develop their characters, key themes and how these poems reflect the societies in which they were made. Greek Religion focuses on how the Greeks worshipped their gods, including different rituals they performed and how individual Greeks may have perceived their gods in comparison to Greek society as a whole. Greek Theatre looks the experience of attending the theatre as a Greek. It includes analysing archaeological sources to develop an understanding of the theatrical experience. We also study three plays, two tragedies and a comedy, to see how different genres are represented.

Skills to be developed:

  • understand, interpret, evaluate and analyse a range of evidence from classical sources in their social, historical and cultural context
  • evaluate and use this evidence to produce analytical responses, and effectively substantiated judgements
  • present these judgements in a clear, concise and logical manner
  • develop their knowledge, skills and understanding over the two year linear A Level course to evaluate with appropriate levels of sophistication, demonstrating a deep, complex understanding of the literature, ideas and materials studied, as well as their cultural context
  • make use of knowledge and understanding of relevant secondary scholars and academics in order to further develop their analysis and argument.


We know from all those who internally, and externally, review the work of our school that our students are cheerful, creative, conscientious and confident.  Employers regularly tell us that our students are professional and act with honesty and integrity.  Our school has been very successful with numerous external accreditations, for the community and the individuals within it, over many decades.  Our staff and students very much feel part of our Mercy community.

Our Classical Civilisation A Level curriculum helps our students to develop the detailed knowledge and skills required to progress to the next stage of education, employment or training.  Our teaching and learning programmes support our students to know, understand and remember more knowledge about the Greek and Roman worlds and to achieve subject fluency, enabling them to grow and develop as Classical Civilisation students. Classical Civilisation allows pupils to develop knowledge of different cultures and values, reflecting on the similarities and differences with their own lives. They develop critical analysis and evaluation of literature, archaeological sources and other people’s viewpoints. They learn key communicative skills in both oral debate and written essays. Classical Civilisation students are encouraged to develop their own opinions on topics, using evidence to defend their positions whilst being open minded enough to consider other evidence that may change their opinions. These transferable skills enable students to prepare themselves proficiently for their next phase of learning and work.

Staff in the Classics department support subject specific literacy and numeracy for all our students to help them succeed in their studies and they aim to develop holistically the gifts and talents of each individual within a caring, compassionate, charitable and challenging Christian environment.

Our impactful Classical Civilisation curriculum develops students with the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to have a positive impact within family, friendship groups, school, university, the workplace and the wider community.  Our wide-ranging and broad-based curriculum offer, and varied extended curricular opportunities, within Classical Civilisation provide an opportunity for everyone. We provide opportunities to discuss ideas with academic lecturers from Russell Group universities; attend Greek plays to extend their understanding of culture; and handle archaeological objects first hand.

We know that our students are reliable, responsible, resilient and radical individuals who are ready to use their talents positively wherever life may take them. Generations of students have chosen St. Anthony’s over the decades and centuries.  We are extremely proud of our alumni, many of whom are regular contributors to our school community as it continues to grow and develop.  Many families have fourth or fifth generation connection to our school and many staff have given decades of service, such is the impact of being part of this school community.