New Ancient History and Classical Civilisation GCSEsEdit

Ancient History and Classical Civilisation are in the final group of reformed GCSEs. They are now suitable for private candidates as assessment is exam only.

  • First available for teaching Sept 2017
  • First exams Summer 2019.

OCR Ancient History ==== Specification:

OCR Classical Civilisation Edit


OCR Classical Civilization GCSEEdit

A home-ed parent in Hampshire, Jaki Parsons, has taught a group for this specification, and made arrangement for the group to do Controlled Assessment. Here is some information from Jaki about the qualification:

The 4 unit version of this course comprises 3 x 1 hour exams on a specific aspect i.e. Athens, Pompeii and Odyssey. Plus a Controlled Assessment, a 2,000 word essay on a Roman Britain title. However, this is completed over a couple of days and rough notes can be taken into the writing up session.

The Exam Centre we use is just outside Fareham – junction 9, M27 in south Hampshire. Run by the FareGos home education group.

The exam is tiered, Foundation is 50% tick box answers and 50% short essay marks – worth 5 points each so only 5 separate pieces of information required for each answer.

Higher Tier has the same short essay questions as the Foundation but includes a 30 mark essay – no tick box questions!

The syllabus is prescriptive and the purple OCR Syllabus book contains everything you need. Complemented by a couple of recommended books

Easily doable in one year, usually less, BUT the controlled assessment is usually completed by Feb half term so realistically you need to have started by December to get all the information together.

The Short Course version is the Controlled Assessment essay and ONE other exam paper. Worth half a GCSE.

An easy start for a younger student, or if you choose the Foundation level a good start for a less able student as minimal writing involved.

For more information about taking this exam contact


Here are some comments from the parent of a student in the group:

"We" did OCR Classical Civilisations last year  - the short course.  We did do some internet research and a little extra reading (local libraries) and found few films/documentaries on bbc iplayer etc -  I am a physicist not a historian and we managed ok -  DS1, 14, got an A grade despite only learning to write an essay a few weeks before hand, but he did know his facts.

The OCR student coursebook (?@£10-£15 new with CD) is short but I figured that if you learnt all the facts in the book (well most of them!) then you would be likely to be able to get ok grade (ie achieve all the AO1 marks) -  need to apply right facts to the question!  Need to understand relationship of facts to question to get AO2 and AO3 marks.

We also used the main recommended text - big hardback thing we got online second hand for about £10 "The Ancient City" - Half each on Rome and Athens.  Presume we could now re-sell it for same price we bought it (so no net cost).

Doing all the past papers and working through answers also gave us a "crib sheet" of facts.

We only did controlled assessment module and 1 unit on city life. So didn't need to do a literature unit.

OCR Classical Civilization A-levelEdit

NEC list the following as 'essential textbooks'


Homer, The Odyssey, translation by E.V. Rieu, revised by D.C.H. Rieu, Penguin Classics, 2003

Aeschylus, The Oresteia, translation by R. Fagles, Penguin Classics for Agamemnon, 1984

Sophocles, Electra and Other Plays, translation by D. Raeburn, Penguin Classics for Ajax, 2008

Euripides, Medea and Other Plays, translation by Vellacott, Penguin Classics for Medea, 2002

Euripides, Electra and Other Plays, translation by J. Davie, Penguin Classics for Trojan Women, 2004


Virgil, Aeneid, translation by D. West, Penguin Classics, 2003

Homer, Iliad, translation by M. Hammond, Penguin Classics, 1987

Homer, The Odyssey, translation by E.V. Rieu, revised by D.C.H. Rieu, Penguin Classics, 2003

Woodford, S., An Introduction to Greek Art, Bloomsbury Academic, 1986

Emerson, M., Greek Sanctuaries: An Introduction, Bloomsbury Academic, 2007

The NEC course currently costs £495 offer a course for £350 and have no recommended textbooks.  Everything is found for you and in printed form (as well as digital) with links in the online platform to extra resources.  Tutor marked assignments and self-assessment quizzes are throughout the course.  

Tutor RecommendationsEdit

Several members of the HE-Exams group have used Peter McNeely as a tutor - he can do Skype tutorials.

“I am a Classics teacher with an MA in Latin.  I am working for OCR as an examiner, and as a private tutor from home (in Lode, near Cambridge).  I would be happy to supply tutoring or support for any Classical subject (Latin, Greek, Ancient History, Classical Civilisation) to pupils either individually, or as a small group.  If anyone would be interested, my email address is: “