RBAI has a vibrant and flourishing Classics department.  The school has a long and distinguished tradition of classical scholarship and Latin continues to occupy a well-supported place in the ever-enlarging curriculum.  Numbers opting for Latin for the GCSE and AS courses are at a record level, and the standard of pupils taking the subject remains high.  There has been a steady increase in support for the subject over the last ten years and the results have exceeded the UK national average.


The department has gained its highest ever results this year.

At A2, 4 boys took Latin; they gained 1 A*, 2As and a C

(A*-C- 100%)

Congratulations to BEN WYLIE

Ben Wylie, who gained an A* in Latin A2 and A* in Greek GCSE, has won a place to read Classics at St Catherine’s College,Cambridge. He says:

"The Classics department at Inst is one of the most knowledgeable and enthusiastic in the School, and should remain one of the most important. Without the passion and commitment of their staff, I certainly would not have gained as much from my education - on both a personal and an academic level. We are privileged to have access to such resources in a vital area of education."

At AS level, 6 boys took Latin and 2 took Greek.

Greek 2A grades

Latin 4 A grades, 1 B and 1 C.

(A*-C- 100%)

At GCSE, 8 boys took Latin

4 boys gained A*

4 boys gained A grade

(A*-C- 100%)


The Department

WO’D Jacques was an Entrance Exhibitioner and Foundation Scholar in Classics at Trinity College Dublin.  He spent eight years in southern Africa teaching at Diocesan College Cape Town and, in Rhodesia, at Hamilton High School and St George’s College.  He then taught at Methodist College Belfast and worked for four years in the Sports Council. 

Mrs L Livingstone has a MA in Classics from New Hall, Cambridge.  She has taught at Marlborough College, St Mary’s Calne and other schools in England.  She speaks fluent Italian and is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language.

Latin at Key Stage 3 (Years 8, 9 and 10)

All boys in the school are taught two periods of Latin per week in Year 8 and in Year 9.   The Cambridge Latin Course is used which is well supported by ICT and the internet (  In Years 9 and 10,  classes are streamed in conjunction with Mathematics. In Year 10, the top 2 sets continue to study Latin.

Latin at GCSE

For Latin GCSE, pupils study the language and literature of ancient Rome, reading famous and influential authors such as Virgil, Ovid, Horace, Caesar and Pliny. There is no coursework and assessment is entirely by examination in the summer.

Latin at AS/A2 Level

AS and A2 Latin offers the opportunity to study both language and literature.  Half of the work focuses on translating unseen passages of Latin and the other half is spent studying in depth a prose set text and a verse set text.  There are no modules and no coursework – assessment is entirely by examination in the summer.

Why study Latin?

Latin remains one of the most challenging and rewarding subjects in the curriculum and RBAI is one of the few Northern Ireland grammar schools to offer the opportunity to study the subject.  It is known to build analytical and problem-solving skills and it combines literature, language, politics and history all in one subject.  It holds significant credibility with universities and sets pupils apart, which is increasingly important when such large numbers of university applicants attain A* grades at GCSE and A level.

Latin gives pupils a rigorous understanding of grammar and so it is useful for any career where verbal or written expression is important.  This is of course almost any job but, in particular, Latin helps with journalism, law, advertising, PR, publishing.  Because it builds (and is proof to future employers of) analytical skills, it is useful for absolutely any career, but particularly for any business or financially-related career.

Latin at AS and A2 level combines well with English, History, Modern Languages, or Maths and it makes an ideal 4th subject to combine with, and balance, sciences.

Classical Greek

Classical Greek is in currently taught on an extra-curricular basis to an interested and growing number of students.  Pupils study both language and literature and have the opportunity to study, in the original language, famous literary works of authors such as Homer, Herodotus, Plato and Euripides.  The expectation is that students will sit the GCSE in Classical Greek, continuing to AS level if desired.

Classical Civilisation

RBAI offers Classical Civilisation at AS and A2 level in collaboration with Victoria College.  Pupils have the opportunity to study Latin and Greek literature in translation; Greek art and architecture and Greek and Roman history.

Summer Schools

Keen senior pupils are encouraged to enrol in one of the several summer schools offering intensive tuition in Latin and/or Greek – an experience universally found rewarding.


In April 2011, 15 GCSE and A Level students, accompanied by three Classics teachers, travelled to Rome for four days. On our whistlestop tour we visited a number of classical sites including the Colosseum, the Palatine, the Roman Forum, Trajan's Market and the Pantheon. We also visited museums including the Palazzo Massimo, the Capital Museum and the Vatican as well as tourist sites such as the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.