Classics - Hurstpierpoint College


The classical world is vibrant, colourful, challenging and very much alive as a result of new research and discoveries made on a regular basis. Ancient ideas about philosophy, politics, religion, history, maths, science, anatomy and art form the bedrock of so much about western understanding of the world around us; by tapping into that world we learn as much about ourselves as we do about mankind in general. 


At A-level we offer courses in Classical Civilisation, Latin and Classical Greek (dependent upon student numbers).

Classical Civilisation A-level

This course is full of mythology, legend, war, death, betrayal, crazed women, art, temples and many insights into the culture that brought us such things as: literature, maths, science, architecture, philosophy, democracy and sculpture. Students must be prepared to read, analyse and write concisely about a wide range and quantity of material, a skill required by any university course.

Latin A-level

This course will help candidates to acquire some understanding of the culture, politics and social life of Rome at significant periods in history, whilst studying elements of the language and literature of the Classical World. Latin is both a challenging language and an immensely rewarding one, and the whole point of learning the language is to be able to read the wealth of literature which has been preserved over the last 2,000 years or more.

Latin commands huge respect in all higher education institutions, which is superbly set to create an inquiring, knowledgeable, hard-thinking, open-minded, balanced, and reflective student. With its linguistic, cultural, historical and philosophical elements it is a broad and exquisitely enthralling and diverse subject with a huge amount to offer to the many different needs of its students.

Co-curricular opportunities

We understand that the love of a subject has as much to do with what students do outside the classroom as it does within the classroom. This wider exploration of the ancient world, beyond the syllabus, can only strengthen a students’ world view and any university and post-Sixth Form applications. Therefore we make full and unashamed use of any time we can give to students’ experiences of the Romans and Greeks that extend and develop their learning, such as:

  • Film nights
  • House Classical Reading Competition
  • Classics Book and Film Club (from Remove/Year 10 +)
  • Cyclops – a classical magazine written for students by students and released annually
  • Visiting speakers – in recent years we have welcomed Dr Gail Trimble and Dr Rosie Wyles
  • Highly Selective Universities (HSU) programme of talks and research for those pupils interested in Classics at university
  • The Classics Twitter feed – we publicise links, news stories, pictures and memes to do with the ancient world


We have a strong tradition of Classics trips, including a biennial trip to Greece when students benefit hugely by seeing the artefacts and buildings which they study at A-level. In the last two years the following excursions have taken place for A-level students:

  • Greece: Athens, Olympia, Mycenae, Nemea, Delphi, EpidaurosSounion and Corinth
  • St Paul’s Girls’ School, London to hear Tom Holland speak (A-level students)
  • Cambridge Literature Conference (Lower Sixth, Latin)
  • British Museum (Upper Sixth, Classical Civilisation)
  • Sussex Classical Reading Competition
  • Antigone at The Barbican, London – starring Juliette Binoche
  • Medea at The National Theatre, London – starring Helen McCrory
  • Medea at The Almeida, London - starring Kate Fleetwood

Higher Education and career opportunities

Classical Civilisation is well regarded by universities and the course is set up to teach skills which are integral to many degrees: analysis, evaluation, wider reading and conceptual thought. It is viewed as a multidisciplinary subject by higher education institutions who recognise the rigour of the content and requirements of the examination. Students will also learn how to read, analyse and evaluate modern academic articles to further their understanding and learn skills applicable to any university course.

Latin is continued either as a language alongside other subjects or as part of a Classics degree (which can incorporate Greek and topics from the Greco-Roman culture). It is a subject highly regarded by universities and businesses alike; though it may not lead to a specific career post-university, it is a strong degree to take anyway, as it demands an affinity for intellectual rigour, communication, problem solving and an understanding of other cultures.

Many universities run highly respected courses in Classical Studies or Ancient History if students decide to take their studies further.