Latin is taught to all pupils in the School from Fourth (Year 7) to Lower Fifth (Year 9). Fourth start from the very basics of the language, though provision is available for those who have studied the language before. Alongside study of the language, girls learn about aspects of Roman life and culture that relate to the termly themes of the Diploma.
Those who enter the Lower Fifth with no previous experience of the subject start as beginners then and will reach a point from which they are able to proceed on to GCSE if they wish. The top set of girls in Lower Fifth study Classical Greek alongside their Latin.
Latin is a popular option for GCSE, and a number of students continue to study Classical Greek either as well or instead. Half of each GCSE course focuses on linguistic skills; for the other half girls will study short selections of original Latin or Greek literature in prose and verse, and these are the only subjects in which there is the opportunity to study literature in a language other than English. This can seem intimidating but students quickly develop the skills to respond with sensitivity and depth.
Latin and Classical Greek are both offered at A Level, and again the courses are split evenly between language and literature. Classical Civilisation is also available at A Level; no prior experience or knowledge of Latin or Greek is required, and girls study a selection of topics covering ancient literature, history and art.
Head of Department
Joelle Gilbert joined Benenden in 2012, having previously taught at Eastbourne College where she was second in department and Head of Greek. She is a keen musician, having been a Music Scholar when at school and Senior Choral Exhibitioner at Gonville & Cauis, Cambridge. She is an able sportswoman and has coached Hockey teams to county and national finals. She also coaches Netball and Tennis and is an RFU qualified Rugby referee.