Classics plays an important role in the education of boys and girls at Winchester House and in their preparation for senior school and beyond.

It provides so much more than a working knowledge of the languages of the Romans and the Greeks. It gives pupils an understanding of ancient civilisations and an insight into the influence those civilisations have brought to bear throughout the world right up to the present.

Classics promotes literacy, providing a sound basis for the understanding of syntax, and helping to reinforce the teaching of grammar in English as well as in other modern languages. In addition, it shares common ground with Humanities, providing the historical and geographical backdrop to those particular civilisations. Most importantly, though, it opens up a mysterious world of wonder and fantasy surrounding the exploits of the many heroes and heroines of the Greek myths.

The Classics Department is committed to making the teaching of Latin and Greek accessible to pupils of differing abilities and is able to adapt its teaching style to suit a diverse range of pupils.

Pupils begin learning Latin in Year 6. From the outset they learn to analyse sentence structure, translating out of, and occasionally into, Latin. They are also introduced to the Greek myths and aspects of Roman Civilisation. Pupils are tested weekly and sit an examination at the end of the summer term. At the end of Year 8, the majority of pupils sit the Common Entrance examination at 13+, with some sitting Scholarship papers.

Greek is introduced in Year 7 with a view to pupils sitting a Common Entrance or Scholarship paper at the end of Year 8. Greek is open to all pupils as an optional activity, regardless of achievement in Latin. Greek classes, while remaining rigorous in aims and content, are run on collegiate lines. After all, democracy is a Greek invention!

The use of information technology in the teaching of Classics has been made possible by the availability of computers in the ICT suite, as well as laptops which can be brought into the classroom, and by projectors and interactive whiteboards. Pupils are able to use ICT in the classroom to research information relating to Greek and Roman civilization. They are also able to access certain programmes which help to develop their understanding of grammar and provide a kinaesthetic approach to learning. Much of the classroom experience remains traditional and based on books, but with the aim of making the subject stimulating for all.

There is nothing quite like walking where the Romans trod and handling artefacts from that period. The Roman villa at Chedworth has proven to be a great favourite, offering a hands-on experience of what life was like in Roman Britain.

Every Easter, there is a holiday Classics competition, inviting entries in any medium on a given subject (previous subjects have included the Ancient Olympics and Heracles). This is very popular and attracts entries of an excellent standard, both of craft and imagination.