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Ancient History

What is on offer? How will it work?

The option to study GCSE Ancient History is only available as an additional option, on top of the compulsory GCSEs and three option subjects, and outside the framework of the normal timetable.

Lessons will take place during lunchtimes in Year 10, and after school in Year 11. Currently there are nine students taking this option in Year 10 and nine in Year 11. You can start the course on a trial basis in Term 6 of Year 9, but you will need to make a firm decision as to whether or not to commit to the course at the start of Year 10. Looking ahead, we are currently piloting AS Ancient History as an additional sixth form option, so it is likely that there will be the opportunity for you to continue the subject at the Langton beyond GCSE level.

Why might you want to take it?

Obviously this is only an appropriate choice for highly-motivated students who are keen to explore the ancient worlds of Persia, Greece and Rome, and are ready to take on significant additional study demands in order to do so. You will also need to be proficient and confident in literary-based subjects. This is particularly important as the course involves the careful reading and use of literary texts from the ancient world, including authors such as Herodotus, Plutarch, Livy, and Polybius.

While this course will give you an additional, fully-certified GCSE qualification, and also involves a real focus on developing intellectual skills of careful source reading and piecing together complex and fragmentary evidence from the distant past, the main motivation to take this course should simply be interest and a desire to learn about the ancient world. If you enjoyed the Year 9 History of Ideas course on ancient history, it is well worth considering this option.

What will you study?

The GCSE course is offered by the OCR (J198) exam board and involves the following units of study:

  •  The Persian Empire 559-465 BC
  • From Tyranny to Democracy: Greece 546-483 BC
  • The foundations of Rome 753-440 BC
  • Hannibal and the Second Punic War 218-201 BC

It is examined through two exam papers of 1h 45m each, both taken at the end of Year 11.  You can find further details about the course at