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Dedicated to the study of the Latin language and the classical world.

Classical Studies and Latin combine the study of art, history and archaeology in a fascinating, multi-disciplinary manner that promotes the development of historical consciousness, through a dialogue between the ancient and modern.

The Classics Department enables pupils to explore and enhance their understanding of the ancient world and its significance, with a focus on ancient Greek and Roman culture in the classical period.

Supporting future study in the Arts, Humanities, Languages and Social Sciences, our Latin and Classical Studies courses have particular relevance for pupils interested in history, drama, literature, social issues, religious beliefs, moral values, politics, philosophy, and law.

For pupils in Transitus and First Year, Latin is the entry point for study of the ancient world: a heritage language not only of Scotland but also of Europe and the wider Mediterranean. Pupils develop foundational knowledge of the language and its linguistic structure alongside its socio-historical context, exploring both the myths and daily lives of the people who lived in the Roman empire. Pupils also develop an awareness of Latin’s direct influence on English and the Romance languages that evolved from it.

The department offers National Qualifications in Latin and Classical Studies at National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher Level. These courses provide pupils with different methods to investigate the ancient world, whether they are interested in language and literature, or social and historical issues. Sixth Year pupils can also choose to sit short courses in Archaeology and Classical Greek.

Classical Studies

Higher Classical Studies investigates, analyses and evaluates the societies of classical Athens and Rome, comparing and contrasting ancient values and attitudes to modern life. Pupils investigate the major questions posed by studying classical literature and societies, such as the role of men and women in society, what a healthy democracy entails and the importance of duty to your family and country. Higher pupils choose an aspect of the classical Greek or Roman world for personal study, with assigned time to research and plan an extended piece of writing about their chosen topic, for which they produce a final piece of work under supervised conditions.

Advanced Higher Classical Studies concentrates on 'Social Aspects of the Classical World'. Pupils study five classical texts that centre on the events and aftermath of the Trojan War, each text offering a different representation and treatment of heroism. Advanced Higher pupils also undertake an independent research project on a topic of their choice, producing an extended piece of writing that presents their findings in 3,000 - 4,000 words that aids the development of research and writing skills ahead of possible further study at university.


National 5 Latin involves studying Latin language and literature to develop the language and critical thinking skills needed to understand, analyse and evaluate literary texts. Pupils develop their knowledge and understanding of literary techniques and their ability to identify and respond to a text's cultural aspects as they study the works of Roman authors Pliny and Virgil. The study of Latin language enables learners to develop their understanding of how language works as they grow their ability to use language effectively when communicating ideas and information from another language. In the process, learners develop their awareness and understanding of the legacy of Roman civilisation and its influence on their own and other cultures.

Higher Latin sees Fifth Year pupils go on to study Latin language and literature in greater depth. Pupils continue to study the works of Pliny and Virgil, taking in their vivid accounts of historical and mythical events that provide a window into the real and imagined past. They also continue reading a variety of detailed Latin texts to support their language development and practise translating them into English with the help of a word list in dictionary format. Pupils extend their knowledge and understanding of grammatical concepts in Latin, developing a more nuanced grasp of Latin syntax.

Advanced Higher Latin is available for Sixth Year pupils, adding further texture to knowledge gained at National 5 and Higher level. Pupils study a selection of letters by Cicero, Pliny, Seneca and others that address topics such as public life and politics, social issues, moral attitudes, friends and family, as well as translating into English a wide range of authentic Latin texts in prose and verse. Our learners also undertake an independent research project about a Latin literature topic of their choice, producing an extended piece of writing that presents their findings in 3,000 - 4,000 words, enabling pupils to develop research and writing skills relevant to possible further study at university.

Short Courses

Classical Greek

This beginners' course introduces pupils to the Greek alphabet and develops their ability to read and write Classical Greek. After some initial practice in transliterating names and English words that come from Greek roots, learners will progress to reading extended passages of Greek text that contain a mix of narrative and dialogue.

Roman Archaeology and Civilisation

Offered to pupils with an interest in History, Geography, Archaeology or Classics, this short course covers archaeological techniques and evidence; the effects of the Roman invasion on the tribal society of Britain; social conditions in Roman Britain; and the contribution of the heritage sites of Roman Britain to modern society.

Our Classics Department offers a vibrant pupil-run Classical Theatre Club and exciting biennial educational trips to Greece and Italy. Pupils are encouraged to take part in external Classics competitions such as the Gilbert Murray Essay Writing Competition, from which pupils have gained significant recognition.

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Developing an understanding of language and encouraging its effective use in both spoken and written form.


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Communicating and developing ideas through a variety of modern languages, enabling learners to make connections as global citizens. 

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