Latin GCSE

Latin GCSE

Discover the influence of Latin on the English language, as you translate key mythological and historical texts from ancient Rome. Delve deeper into this fascinating world of gods and gladiators through the study of translated work, written by some of Rome’s greatest thinkers.

Why St Mary's

Inspired and supported by subject specialist teachers you will develop your understanding of Latin language and translate Latin stories, deepening your understanding of Roman history and mythology. The Latin texts offer fascinating insight into key myths and events, as well as everyday life in the ancient world. You will also gain a greater appreciation of the Latin in everyday life and improve your English and language skills more generally as you discover how Latin has influenced vocabulary and grammar in English and other modern languages.
You will also study a selection of Roman sources in English to further broaden your knowledge of Roman culture, society and life. In-depth study of key literature (set texts change very two years), provide access to the earliest, most engaging stories ever told.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • Cambridge Classical Association lectures
  • The Cambridge Greek Play and other theatre trips
  • Classics trip to Italy or Greece (optional)
  • Sampling a Roman dinner party menu
  • Museum visits to view classical collections
  • Classics Club
  • Teacher surgeries to support your progress

Course overview

 Compulsory paper

The Language paper consists of comprehension and translation of Latin stories, with the option of either writing some short Latin sentences or answering questions on the language of the passage.

Plus any TWO of the following:

  • Literature and Culture: a study of Roman life through primary sources, all in English. The topics will be myths and beliefs, including the Roman gods, and the Romans in Britain.
  • Prose literature: a study of some selections of Latin historical literature. The selection includes the mysterious death of Germanicus and actions of an unscrupulous legacy hunter.
  • Verse literature: a study of some selections of Latin poetry, including a choice between an extract from Virgil’s Aeneid or poems on the theme of ‘passions and poisons’.

We consult each class about which of the optional papers they would like to prepare. Whatever their choice, a study of Roman life and reading Latin literature is included in the course.



There are three examination papers, all of which are taken at the end of Year 11.

There is no coursework or controlled assessment in this qualification.

  • Compulsory Language paper, 1 hour 30 mins (50% of total mark)
  • Optional papers, 1 hour each (25% of total mark each)
    • Any two of the following components: Literature and Culture, Prose literature or Verse literature


At a glance
  • Syllabus: OCR
  • 3 written examinations
  • Optional trip to Greece or Rome
  • Highly valued by universities and employers
You will enjoy this course if you ...
  • Are studying Latin in Year 9
  • Enjoy learning languages
  • Have a keen interest in history
  • Like logical thinking
  • Are an avid reader

What our teachers say...

“We love the range of Latin. It enables you to study language, literature and history in one single course.”

“Do the gods light this fire in our hearts or does each man's mad desire become his god?” Virgil, The Aeneid

Latin at GCSE and A Level explores literature, language and history, to offer unique insight into human nature and the mistakes and successes of history.

Knowledge of this ancient society, which shaped so much of today’s world is key to informing how we create a better future.

GCSE Latin provides a solid foundation for progressing to A Level studies. Studying Latin encourages you to look at the big picture, to think analytically and to confidently communicate your own ideas and opinions – all skills that are great preparation for higher education. It is also interesting to note that GCHQ and MI5 seek to recruit Classicists because they develop an aptitude for code-breaking!

The University of Cambridge ranks Classicists as one of the most employable Arts graduates due to the wide range of transferable skills they possess. A Latin qualification opens up a wide range of inspiring career paths including law, journalism, politics, academia and the civil service.

Our results

Achieve the results you need to fulfil your dreams.

Read more

Beyond St Mary's

Our Senior School students go on to pursue exciting futures.

Discover more