Classics: Latin and Greek
Ipsa scientia potestas est: knowledge itself is power.
Belhaven has a dynamic Latin department with an excellent Common Entrance and Scholarship record. The department works hard to keep Classics at the forefront of the curriculum within the school and this involves not only providing a rigorous and organised approach to teaching the subject, but also maintaining a realistic, innovative and up-to-date awareness of how to enthuse today's children of all abilities. Teaching consists of a blend of styles, ranging from textbook work to the very latest resources work on interactive whiteboards and fun language and word-games.
The children start Classical Civilisation in Form 4 where they begin their background experiences of the language, through study of the ancient world, its people and day-to-day life, and the way they perceived the world at that time. At this stage, children also begin to discover a variety of Greek myths and learn about the Romans' impact on Britain.
Children are put into sets from Form 3 onwards. The focus is more clearly on the Latin language, while maintaining a clear connection with the cultural context. Studies of this are continued on a regular basis right through to Form 1 through continued study of myths, Romans in Britain, the Roman Army and also life in Rome at the time of the empire. A visit to Hadrian's Wall is enjoyed by pupils in either their Form 2 or Form 1 years and in Form 2 children also get the chance to meet pupils from other prep schools at Fettes Latin Day, where the pupils' study of Latin is tested in a fun learning environment. The number of pupils taking Latin through to Common Entrance continues to increase and those who do not retain study of the language itself carry on their learning about Romans through our Classical Civilisation Course For All, set up in 2013.
In 2013 Ancient Greek was added back into the curriculum after an absence of many years and top set pupils can choose to study this through to their Level 1 Common Entrance examination.
Much, but certainly not all, of the emphasis is on preparing children for the relevant Common Entrance and Scholarship examinations, but of equal importance is the child’s sense of achievement and enjoyment from studying Latin. Latin's future lies just as much in the hands of those pupils who might find the subject challenging as those to whom Latin academia comes more naturally. The language and culture belong to all and at Belhaven Hill everybody can gain something from the subject.