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Year 13 Classical Civilisation H408

Guidance for parents

What will students study in Classical Civilisation this year?

A level consists of the AS units plus:

A Level Module: Beliefs and Ideas (Love and Relationships) So scandalous it is only safe for study in Year 13 This module embraces both philosophy and literature as we probe those curious beasts, love and desire (and their more tame counterpart, friendship). The unit examines what these forces are, their symptoms and manifestations; if needed, their possible cures. We look at men and women, gay and straight relationships, and everything in-between and beyond those definitions. We explore what divides people, and how they come together. We dwell awhile on the isle of Lesbos with the world’s most iconic lesbian, the poet Sappho, before hitting the road with Ovid, cast into exile for his scandalous Ars Amatoria, a lovers’ guide of classical pick-up lines and seduction techniques. Of course, everyone knows that the brain is the sexiest organ of love, so we also consider the philosophies of Plato and Seneca. Hot stuff!

A Level Module: The World of the Hero (Virgil’s Aeneid): As Troy burns Aeneas sets sail for Italy, there to found the Roman Empire. Meet Dido, who believes herself married to Aeneas; news to him as he sails away! What’s a girl to do? Disembowelment followed by swift immolation, of course. Students’ critical study of The Aeneid in its religious, political, cultural and social contexts builds well on their AS work. Formal analysis of narrative techniques goes hand in hand with a study of the nature of human responsibility and the relations between mortals and immortals, men and women, fathers and sons.

What are the major assessments this year?

A Level is assessed through three written examinations:

  • The world of the hero (The Odyssey and The Aeneid): 2 hour 20 minutes paper, worth 40% of the A level.
  • Culture and Arts (Greek theatre): 1 hour 45 minutes paper, worth 30% of the A level.
  • Beliefs and Ideas (Love and Relationships): 1 hour 45 minutes paper, worth 30% of the A level.

In preparation for these examinations, students should expect to complete regular homeworks, be they writing tasks, reading or research.  There is the official Year 13 mock examination towards the end of the first term; the department runs a second mock around Easter time.

What will the current performance grade be based on, and what do the levels mean?

The current performance grades are based on the quality of work students complete over the year, including classwork and homework as well as the mocks. Spoken contributions to class work and discussion will also form part of the assessment. A key factor is student attendance in lessons and the meeting of deadlines as these are fundamental to student progression.

All students are given a copy of the examination board’s mark scheme at the start of the year which describes the levels and the differences between them. 

What should a student do if struggling in the subject?

In the first instance, the student should speak to the subject teachers. We have an open-door policy offering help with explaining themes, planning essays, improving drafts, and helping with time-management.  We also offer pastoral support, including optional sessions of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) run by Mrs MacCormack. 

How can I support my daughter/son in Year 13?

  • The best way to provide general support to Year 13 students is by talking to them about their work in the subject and how things are going.  If you can, read the texts they are studying yourself and talk about them. Don’t worry about having a ‘literary discussion’ – just talking about a text on any level will help the student to make connections and identify problems with the text. Do get your hands on films and audiobooks of the set texts and watch them together or listen at home or in the car.
  • Encourage them to continue reading as widely as possible and, in particular, to read and discuss critical essays and those exploring the historical background of the texts. (Reading lists are provided for students). 
  • Keep an eye and ear open for television and radio shows on the Classics.
  • Encourage your daughter/son to participate in the trips we run (remember, it is possible to access the school hardship fund to pay for a ticket if money is tight).
  • Provide a quiet place for them to work; ensure they are not still working at two in the morning – they should be asleep at two in the morning. 
  • Perhaps most importantly, if you know of some circumstance impacting upon your daughter/son’s well-being or performance, let us know – the better informed we are, the better able we are to help!

What kind of independent work should my daughter/son undertake?

  • The library should be a second home to our students – it has an excellent catalogue of supporting texts and dvds, and offers a quiet working environment.
  • Students should be working in advance of deadlines to facilitate the discussion of drafts with both their teachers.  We would expect to see every student at least twice or thrice a year for this one-on-one support.
  • Students should keep an eye out for any upcoming exhibitions or performances relevant to the course, as we appreciate the heads-up!
  • If considering Classics or Classical Civilisation at university, there are various summer schools (some focusing on Greek/Latin, others looking at historical/cultural/literary themes).
  • Any extra work submitted by students will receive full feedback from their teachers. 

Who can I contact for further advice and information?

Please feel free to contact the Head of Classical Civilisation, Mr Deane, at pdeane@newsteadwood.co.uk

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