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Languages & Classics


At Burgess Hill Girls, Classics is alive and buzzing as a discipline that is highly relevant to the modern world. By exploring our past we gain a clearer picture of the present and a greater understanding of context. Our subjects develop a broad range of important skills, linguistic, analytical and evaluative, for example, whilst exploring fascinating civilisations that continue to influence the West and the world as a whole. They delve deep into what it means to be human. Whether you are seeking answers to the ‘Big Questions’, want to lose yourself in some of the finest stories ever told or simply enjoy a linguistic challenge, Classics and the Ancient World have something for you.
For many of our students a real highlight is participating in one of the overseas trips where Classics gets up close and personal. From the birthplace of Hercules and the dizzy heights of the Parthenon to exploring the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum and the wonders of Rome, the girls experience the ancient world first hand. Back in the UK, our students continue to explore Classics outside the classroom and we offer many enrichment opportunities, such as university competitions, workshops, visiting speakers, theatre trips and site visits. We are also one of the few schools proud to offer Classical Greek as a co-curricular activity.
In the classroom, our students study both the language and the culture of the Romans. In KS3 we follow the Cambridge Latin Course and girls enjoy the rigour and intellectual flexibility needed to translate and explore the stories and interactive language activities and explore cultural links. They soon become experts on gladiatorial combat and what to cook for a Roman dinner party, and learn about the structure and beliefs of this multicultural society. The skills they need to do this are vital for the modern world.
In Ks4 and 5, our students are privileged to read in the original some of the works of famous authors such as Virgil, Ovid, Cicero and Tacitus, which have inspired many later generations. As they develop their skills of literary criticism and communication and their linguistic prowess, they may read one of the greatest love stories ever told or find themselves in a court room with an orator whose brilliance has survived through the millennia.
Our students of Classical Civilisation study Homer and ponder on the true meaning of heroism whilst the consummate storyteller weaves his web. There are also the delights of Greek tragedy which deals with the big questions in life; to whom do you owe ultimate loyalty? How far should you go to support your country? What is the cruellest revenge? Not for the faint-hearted, our students explore betrayal, lust for glory and brutal murder.
Some students take up the exciting opportunity to study Classical Greek. They enjoy learning to read and appreciate Greek literature, by authors such as Herodotus and Homer in its cultural context and in its original language.

Whatever you love, Classics has something for you.



For anyone with an aptitude for languages and an interest in French culture, studying French at A Level is a rich learning experience that combines both building language skills, and focusing on cultural and social aspects of the francophone world.

French is spoken in more than 40 countries. It is a major commercial and scientific language in the European Union and in many parts of the world; France is a major trading partner with the UK.  French is one of the six official languages of the United Nations, and is used worldwide in many international organisations.

In the era of corporate globalisation it is paramount to master a foreign language, and French will enable you to enhance your employment opportunities. Whether you wish to work in NGOs, education, tourism, media and journalism, the diplomatic service, international organisations, law, investment banking, business and industry, or any other career path you can name, your linguistic skills will be highly sought after.

The course we offer is wide-ranging and stimulating. We aim to build confidence in the language by consolidating grammatical knowledge and building up a broad vocabulary base. A wide range of material is used to support the this thematic approach to language learning.


Sprechen Sie Deutsch? German: language of Europe. Together with English and French, German is one of the main working languages used by the European Commission. German: language of business. Germany is the UK’s biggest export market outside the US. German: language of culture … of poetry, literature, music, architecture and film. As well as providing a real sense of achievement and enjoyment, learning to communicate fluently in German can open up many career opportunities.

A Level German helps students to develop confident, effective communication skills in the German language and a thorough understanding of the culture of countries and communities where German is spoken.

The AQA four-unit specification requires students to develop their ability to write and speak in German with accurate grammar and syntax for a range of purposes and to understand written or spoken German in a variety of contexts and genres.

Every student benefits from a one to one weekly session with the German Foreign Assistant, and students are able to make excellent use of the modern language laboratory.

Students wishing to increase their working knowledge of the language are encouraged to apply for work experience or other courses during the summer of the Lower Sixth, and we take pleasure helping them in this process.

The German Department continues to develop its links with the German Network run by the German Department at the University of Cambridge.

The German Department is in the process of forging a Sixth Form exchange link with the support of Burgess Hill Rotary Club.


Spanish is taught by both native speakers and bilingual staff whose knowledge of Spanish far exceeds the level normally required for teaching at A Level. Our combined experience ranges from primary schools to three prestigious Russell Group universities.  The department is truly international: we are familiar not only with Castilian Spanish, but also Latin American varieties.  Our students know they won’t get red wine when they order ‘tinto’ in Colombia!

The AQA course helps students develop confident, effective communication skills in Spanish and a thorough understanding of the culture of countries and communities where Spanish is spoken. It develops an interest in, and enthusiasm for, language learning and encourages students to consider their study of the language in a broader context.

The four-unit specification requires students to develop their ability to write and speak in Spanish with accurate grammar and syntax for a range of purposes and to understand written or spoken Spanish in a variety of contexts and genres.

Our approach to teaching is multi-disciplinary. At A Level, the study of Spanish history gives students wider insights into twentieth century history, historiography and political philosophies, as well as essay-writing guidance that will help them to excel at university across the humanities and social sciences.

We also read classic Latin American writers, whose critical eye and innovative techniques revolutionised literature in Spanish in the 1900s; Gabriel García Márquez is considered the father of magical realism – the acceptance of magic in the rational world – and Augusto Monterroso is one of the most remarkable fabulists of modern times.

We run a variety of Spanish-only activities to develop confidence and speaking skills.  In our ‘café español’, girls discuss the issues they are passionate about in Spanish and play scrabble over a Spanish hot chocolate.  Spanish tennis club offers the opportunity for sport in Spanish, while A level students also have the chance to cook an authentic dish in Spanish (with Mr Montesinos providing secret recipes from his mother in Barcelona).

“Now I feel I am a better person. Spanish at Burgess Hill has given me the opportunity to study disciplines that I didn’t know I could – literature, history, geography.” (former A Level student).



Latin is a dead language.  So what do our Sixth Form students gain from their study of it?

They have the exciting opportunity to acquire language skills which enable them to read some of the great classics of Latin literature, both prose and verse, in the original language.  Our students read Cicero, Ovid, Virgil and Tacitus, challenging texts which offer insights into an amazing lost world, not only literary but historical and cultural.  When studying these authors our 6th Formers develop a sensitive and analytical approach to language.  They learn how Cicero, who even during his lifetime held the reputation of being Rome’s greatest orator, presented his cases in the law-courts; they study Virgil’s patriotic epic, the Aeneid, a poem of defeat and exile, of love and war, written to honour the emperor Augustus; they appreciate how Tacitus in his historical writings manipulates language to create discrepancies between the impression made on his reader and the facts, so that he deliberately misleads his audience.  Studying Latin helps to make our 6th Formers intellectually curious and rigorous students, who have encountered another world that is so like, and so very unlike, our own.

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