The Royal Belfast Academical Institution


Name of Department: Latin

Head of Department: Ms L Gordon

Members of Department: Ms L Gordon

We have a long and distinguished tradition at RBAI of studying the Classics; while honouring the past, however, this is a department with its eyes firmly fixed on the future! We believe that a study of the ancient world and its languages - at whatever level – is essential to our understanding of who we are, how we got to this point in our history and how our language and literature have developed along the way. Latin really is the one subject central to any curriculum – and now that we have so many resources to help us learn, it can be fun too!

KS3 – Starting Out

Year 8: Language Awareness

What makes a language work? That’s the question we aim to explore in the Year 8 Language Awareness course. With the help of Greek myths and gods, boys are introduced to both Latin and Greek and through this, they begin to learn better how English works. By the end of the year, boys will have improved their grasp of English grammar through the medium of the ancient world and its languages (and learn a lot more about the Greek we speak every day without realising it!

Year 9: Latin

At the end of Year 8, boys can choose to study Latin in Year 9 (almost 75% of boys opt for this). We start with the basics of Latin as a language, using the Cambridge Latin Course Book 1, and learn more about life in Pompeii in the year when Vesuvius erupted, as well as making an in-depth study of what it means to be a Greek hero (focusing on Perseus, Theseus, Jason and Heracles).

Year 10

Boys who choose to continue Latin move on to the Cambridge Latin Course Book 2, which continues Quintus’ story from the ashes of Pompeii to Roman Britain and Alexandria in Egypt. We carry on with Language work, in preparation for GCSE and look at Foundation Myths, considering what we can learn about ancient (and modern!) societies through the stories they tell about their origins (focusing on Romulus and Remus, Horatius, Scaevola and Cloelia)

Here's an example of the CLC online resources for Year 10:

KS4 – GCSE Latin

Board: OCR

Boys opting for Latin take 3 papers at the end of Year 12 (Language, Literature and Literature and Society); there are no controlled assessments or coursework. This course allows boys to consolidate and extend their knowledge of Latin grammar and embark on reading Latin literature for the first time. Further context and insight into the Roman world is acquired through the new Literature and Culture paper, where boys study two prescribed topics in detail, such as Entertainment or Gods and Beliefs.

More details can be found here:

KS5 – A level

Board: OCR

Boys opting for A level Latin take 4 papers at the end of Year 14 (Unseen Translation, Comprehension or Prose Composition, Prose Literature and Verse Literature); there are no controlled assessments or coursework. This is a fully linear A level, which means that boys do not sit a public examination at the end of Year 13; instead, there is an internal examination which is based on the AS paper for that year. Boys opting for A level Latin have the chance to refine their language skills to a very high level and tackle increasingly demanding Latin texts, which cover a wide range of Roman cultural experience – from the political speeches of Cicero to the epic poetry of Vergil to the dark histories of Tacitus, the aim is to expose senior students to as broad a variety of writing as possible so that they can fully grasp the importance of Roman civilisation and language.

More details can be found here:

Examination success

Boys taking Latin at GCSE have enjoyed a continuous run of very high grades at RBAI – in 2018, they achieved 100% A*-A, which is a reflection of their hard work, talent and commitment.

At A level, the standard is also high: in 2018, A level students in Latin achieved 100% A*-B

The standard is just as impressive in Greek – in spite of working off timetable, boys who took Greek at GCSE over the last two years have achieved 100%A*-A.

Additional information:

Greek at RBAI

RBAI is one of the very few schools in Northern Ireland which still offers the opportunity to study Greek alongside Latin. Boys who wish to study Greek may join the Greek class (Tuesday and Thursday lunchtimes) and typically will work towards taking GCSE in Year 13. They can also attend the evening classes run by the Classical Association of Northern Ireland in QUB on Monday evenings as a useful supplementary. Details for the OCR Greek GCSE course can be found here:

Beyond the Classroom

Boys regularly attend events organised by CANI – the Classics Day for Schools (which features Roman legionaries, archaeological handling sessions and a talk by a leading authority on a subject related to GCSE study), the CANI Summer School for Latin and Greek (held in QUB in July), along with film nights and talks.

Senior students are encouraged to apply for Summer Schools in England too – we have a regular number of boys attending evens in Eton and London as an excellent means of preparation for Oxbridge application or as a means of pushing themselves to achieve more in their studies.

Year 11 and 13 students will be travelling to Oxford this year to attend the Oxford and Cambridge Classics Open Day and we are planning a trip in 2019- 2020 to Rome and Pompeii for Year 11 -14 students.

28 2021
CDG A Level standardisation and moderation
06 2021
GCSE CDG moderation & standardisation
10 2021
Year 10 Exams
10 2021
Year 11 Study Leave
College Square East, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT1 6DL
Tel: 028 90 240461
© 2021 The Royal Belfast Academical Institution