Milbourne Lodge has a proud tradtion of teaching Classics and has won many specialist scholarships over the years including the Annah Shaw Scholarship to Eton and the Benn Scholarship to Charterhouse.
All children learn Latin from Year 4 onwards and is offered at Scholarship or Common Entrance level. The number of weekly lessons starts at three, rising to four in Year 7 and five in Year 8.
The Scholarship stream starts Greek in Year 6 with two lessons per week, rising to three in Year 8. By the time of the Scholarship examinations these pupils are well-placed to take a Greek paper, and we generally recommend that they do. Pupils are introduced to the Iliad and Odyssey in translation and given a taste of Greek drama, philosophy and science.
Milbourne Lodge has more Latin and Greek lessons per week than many other prep schools. This reflects the importance attached to Classics by us and by many of the senior schools our pupils move on to.
Teaching is by traditional methods and pupils learn from the outset to translate from English into the classical languages. We cover Classical Civilisation topics such as Roman Britain and Greek Mythology as they arise in the course of the language teaching. One lesson per week for the Year 4 beginners is entirely devoted to Classical Civilisation.
Classics at the highest level embraces every aspect of the ancient world: language, literature, history, law, politics, philosophy, economics, science, art, architecture and drama (both tragedy and comedy). Even at prep school level many of these disciplines are touched upon in Classics lessons.
Every year, the Latin beginners put on a play in Latin for the rest of the school.
Some benefits of learning Latin are:
- Latin is a beautifully-constructed and law-abiding language with very few irregularities.
Therefore learning Latin helps with the grammar and syntax of other languages including English. Pupils studying Latin become more aware of how their own language works.
- If you know Latin you can work out the meaning of many English words, including technical terms in many fields. (More obscure words, such as scientific terms, often have Greek roots.)
- Knowing Latin gives you a head start with learning any of the other European languages which are descended from it: primarily Italian, Spanish and French.
- At a higher level, knowledge of Latin will give direct access to the great literature of ancient Rome.
- Learning Latin is pure intellectual exercise, and therefore good training for any other intellectual activity. It demands precision.
Classical Greek has a similar structure to Latin, but it has more irregularities and presents greater challenges - including the learning of a new alphabet - which many children enjoy.