What is Latin about?
Latin is about learning a language which is more than 2,000 years old yet still relevant today. It is about exploring the ancient world and its people, specifically the Romans, whether in Italy, Britain or Egypt. It is about engaging with famous stories from Greek mythology and Roman history and literature, either in translation or in the original Latin. It is about discovering our shared cultural heritage and with it a unique, powerful tool to help us better understand ourselves as well as our times.
What do we teach in Latin and why?
In Latin, we teach students Latin through vocabulary, grammar, and practice. We teach Latin vocabulary because most English words, especially technical vocabulary, come from Latin; therefore, it is important that students learn as much Latin vocabulary as possible, since this will enable them to unlock the meaning behind the English language and improve their literacy, in particular spelling. Furthermore, we teach Latin grammar because this is at the foundation of English grammar, and students with a better understanding of grammar also benefit from improved literacy level, especially in their ability to write complex, well-structured sentences in English. In addition to this, practice, whether it be Latin translation, comprehension, develops students’ analytical and critical thinking by challenging them to identify, break down and interpret different patterns of information.
In Latin, we also teach Latin literature and Roman civilisation. We teach these because they offer students the opportunity to engage with the world of the ancient, whether through famous stories which shaped our own cultural heritage or written and material evidence showing the way of life of the ancients, their customs, and their values. On the one hand, the study of literature and civilisation teaches students how to examine and evaluate any sources and formulate arguments about different topics. On the other hand, it also gives students the chance to interact with the ancient world in a way which makes it come to life, as they understand how the past influenced our times, how people have always been people in their differences and similarities, and how we can learn more about ourselves through the experiences of others.
What does Latin enable our students to do?
Year 7: Students will be able to translate short Latin sentences and extended Latin passages featuring 1st, 2nd and 3rd declension nouns in the nominative and accusative singular, adjectives, regular verbs of all four conjugations, infinitives, imperatives, and prepositions.
Year 8: Students will be able to translate short Latin sentences and extended Latin passages featuring 1st, 2nd and 3rd declension nouns in the nominative and accusative singular and plural, adjectives, regular verbs of all four conjugations, infinitives, imperatives, and prepositions.
How is the curriculum structured in Latin?
Key Stage 3:
At the start of Year 7, students complete a reading age test. The most able students are placed in the top two English sets and selected to do Latin once every two weeks. Students follow our own Latin literacy curriculum, designed to be stimulating and empowering, and are introduced to different aspects of Roman civilisation, such as gladiators, education, fables, theatre and dinner parties.
Key Stage 4:
In Year 8, in February, students have the chance to select Latin for GCSE. It is not required to have studied Latin at Key Stage 3. Students who select Latin at GCSE will not be able to select a Modern Foreign Language.
Our GCSE Latin is a three-year course. Students begin the course in Year 9 and take three final exams in Year 11 in the Summer term. There is no coursework. Our exam board is Eduqas. The course is made of three components, each worth a different percentage of the qualification: Language (50%), Literature (30%) and Civilisation (20%).
Key Stage 5:
From 2022-23, A Level Latin will be offered to students who have studied Latin at GCSE. It is hoped that A Level Classical Civilisation will be offered from 2023-24, for which no previous knowledge of Latin is required.
Our A Level Latin is a two-year course. Students begin the course in Year 12 and take four final exams in Year 13 in the Summer term. There is no coursework. Our exam board is OCR. The course is made of four components, each worth a different percentage of the qualification: Unseen Translation (33%), Prose Composition or Comprehension (17%), Prose Literature (25%), Verse Literature (25%).
What specifications do we follow?
GCSE: WJEC C990PB
What are the links between Latin and other subjects?
Latin has curriculum links with various subjects. Latin is linked with Literacy across the whole school curriculum, since over 60% of English words comes from Latin; this includes over 80% of technical vocabulary for all subjects, including the sciences. The study of language is linked with Modern Foreign Languages, since both French and Spanish come from Latin, and German and Latin have similar grammar. The study of literature is linked with English literature, since many modern works of literature have been inspired by the works of Roman authors. Finally, the study of civilisation is linked with History, since the Romans are taught at Key Stage 2 as part of the National Curriculum alongside other ancient civilisations.
What are the future careers students can take when they study Latin?
Students who have Latin on their CV are more attractive to recruiters from all sectors, including business, finance and consultancy. Latin is especially useful to those interested in law, medicine and science, and the humanities. This is because Latin gives students strong analytical and critical skills: the study of language teaches students how to identify, break down and interpret different patterns of information, while the study of literature and civilisation teaches them how to examine and evaluate any sources and formulate arguments about different topics. These skills are highly sought-after by employers, and that is why Latin is so useful for all kinds of careers.
What extra-curricular activities can students take part when you study Latin?
For students who are keen, two extracurricular opportunities are available: Latin Enrichment and Classics Club.
Educational trips organised may include local trips to the British Museum, the Museum of London and St Albans, and trips abroad to Rome and Pompeii in Italy.