The Classics Department at Francis Holland aims to provide a rigorous grounding in the Ancient languages and to foster a love of learning which acts as a suitable springboard for exploration of the Ancient World through its languages and culture:
We explore the values of the Ancient World and try to understand the way these have influenced Western Society.
The department is run by Ms Trine Jensen.
In Year 7 your daughter will be introduced to Latin and the Cambridge Latin Course. The Book is divided into 12 Stages, each of which contains model sentences introducing a new grammar point, stories in continuous prose and a background section examining different aspects of Roman life. The course has a fully integrated interactive DVD to accompany it.
During Year 8 your daughter will continue with Book 1 of the Cambridge Latin Course, which is set in Pompeii in the months leading up to the eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79.
In Year 9 we complete Book 2 of the Cambridge Latin Course, which is set in Britain and Alexandria. Your daughter will be introduced to life in Roman Britain, including the palace of Cogidubnus at Fishbourne, and the Roman baths in Bath, as well as looking at the role of slaves and freedmen in Rome and Alexandria.
This stimulating and challenging course will give your daughter the opportunity to study the language and literature of ancient Rome, reading the works of famous authors such as Virgil and Pliny, allowing her to develop a deeper understanding of the culture and language of a civilisation which has so inspired later generations. She will gain analytical skills which will be invaluable in later life.
This lively and varied course provides an excellent introduction to the Classical world. Your daughter will study Greek and Roman culture and literature (in translation), examining topics such as Pompeii, Roman entertainment, Homer and the Olympic games.
This inspiring and demanding course will introduce your daughter to the Ancient Greek language and culture, with a focus on building a solid foundation of grammatical knowledge and vocabulary. The works studied are both prose and verse, with extracts from Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Herodotus’ Histories, which continue to build on your daughter’s experiences of translating and analysing literature.
Latin, Classical Civilisation, and Greek are all available in the Sixth Form. In Latin, more complex language points and literature are studied, with in-depth analysis of works by writers such as Cicero, Ovid and Livy. Topics covered in Classical Civilisation include epic poems by Homer and Virgil, City Life in Roman Italy, and Greek Art and Architecture. In Greek, the language and grammar becomes increasingly challenging, through the study of writers like Euripides, Aristophanes and Thucydides. In addition, your daughter will study prose composition, translating from English into Greek, which further develops her language and translation skills.
The Department has a designated teaching room equipped with a computer and electronic whiteboard, and girls are regularly taught using the Cambridge Latin Course interactive DVD. There is a very well equipped Departmental Library, with a wide variety of books, CDs, DVDs and other resources, many of which can be borrowed by the students. This is in addition to the Classics section of the school library, which is also very well resourced. Members of the Sixth Form, in particular, benefit from our subscription to the Classical magazine "Omnibus" which features articles by a wide range of Classical Scholars, as well as games and competitions.
The Classics Department takes students on a variety of trips. Recent outings have included the Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition at the British Museum, productions of Greek dramas at the National theatre and in Cambridge, lectures at schools and other venues, as well as trips to Roman Bath and Fishbourne Roman palace.
Classical plays and reading competitions have a long history at Francis Holland School. The competition for Latin was established in the 1930s, and the Sheila Griffiths memorial fund gave money to fund a prize for Latin verse-speaking, known as the Lauda Sion prize. On 6th February 2014, in keeping with the tradition of the school, we watched girls from Years 8 and 9 perform short plays in Latin from the Cambridge Latin Course.
We were delighted to welcome as our adjudicator Mrs Marjorie Rackham. Mrs Rackham, a graduate of London University, has taught in a wide range of independent schools. She is currently Head of Classics at Chinthurst School in Surrey.
On Monday 28th November, those girls studying Latin in Year 10 went by train to Bath for the day with Mrs Smith and Ms Jensen. First stop was the famous site of the Roman Baths and the remains of the temple complex dedicated to Sulis Minerva, where we learnt more about aspects of Roman leisure and religion. Equipped with worksheets and audio guides, the girls examined some of the objects found in the sacred spring. Most interesting were the Defixiones or curse tablets, inscribed on lead and dedicated to the goddess. And, of course, the climax of the trip was drinking the water from the spring. It tasted horrid, but we all benefited from its health-giving properties! In separate groups the girls had all chosen different topics to explore at the baths, and to prepare to present to the rest of the class on our return to school.
Next up was a short visit to the Museum of Costume, where we saw some exquisite garment from the 1600s to the present day. The girls had the chance to try on some of the Victorian corsets, top hats and dresses, resulting in some priceless photos and much laughter!