The Dragon has a flourishing department (of seven classicists) with an excellent scholarship and Common Entrance record in both Latin and Greek. Dragon has a history of excellence in the Classics and our passion is helping our pupils to love the languages, the cultures and the Classical legacy in the modern world. Many of our pupils go on to pursue the subject at A Level and University and relish telling us how their Classical training at Dragon set them on their way.
Our department philosophy is Knowledge, Rigour and Fun: we invite all pupils into the logical, code-breaking aspect of the languages, the vast wealth of achievements, innovations and creations of the Greeks and Romans, whilst showing them the rewards and satisfaction gained by grit and determination in (for instance) mastering vocab. Children of all abilities enjoy being able to learn an appropriate portion of the the ancient languages and to tap quickly into the myths, characters and creations of these amazing civilizations.
The children start to learn Latin in their form groups in Year 5 and follow our own Beginners' Booklet which has been refined through many years of introducing Dragons to Latin. From Year 6 onwards Latin is setted in accordance with the child's performance over their first year, and in subsequent Unit Tests and exams. Progress is made at a pace that suits the individual child. The Department has also written the 'Improvers' Booklet' specifically aimed at Year 6 children, which means that the Dragon now effectively has a two-book course to take a pupil from complete beginner to Common Entrance Level 1.
In partnership with the Learning Support and Modern Foreign Languages Departments, we have written a bespoke Memorisation Booklet, which includes coaching for how to memorise vocab, so that each pupil can find and perfect their own personalised memorisation techniques.
In Year 7 and 8 children use the Galore Park Latin Two and Latin Three books in preparation for Common Entrance and Scholarship, supplemented by more of our home-grown resources containing the complex grammar and syntax required for many senior school Scholarship papers. The pupils are also great fans of pelman cards, dice games, Latin Bingo, and various online quizzes; all aimed at different learning styles, and of course to keep the subject great fun!
Greek can be taken as a timetabled subject in Year 7 and 8. It is offered to those in the top two language sets (with Spanish or German offered as alternatives). These children move very quickly through the basics and will sit Scholarship or Common Entrance papers at the end of their two years. For these fifty or so children, we have written our own tailor-made Greek course. A trip every year to see a Greek play at the Oxford Playhouse is always popular - sometimes it’s actually performed in ancient Greek.