Latin in schools


The teaching of latin in schools is varied across the country. According to a British Council survey, Latin is taught at Key Stage 3 in 2.7% of state schools compared to 49% of independent schools.

The government has announced a Latin Excellence Programme to enable more students across the country the opportunity to learn through a new £4 million programme.

In addition to learning Latin, the new programme will include activities such as visits to Roman heritage sites to give pupils a deeper understanding of Classics, and life in the ancient world. 

The Department for Education (DfE) explains an expert group will be appointed to work with schools providing the best Latin teaching in the country, to create high-quality resources to roll out to schools in disadvantaged areas with low take-up of the subject at GCSE.

Latin Excellence Programme: what is it?

The DfE explains the initiative aims to boost GCSE latin entries and will be modelled on the Mandarin Excellence Programme launched in 2016. Similarly to the Mandarin programme, the Latin Excellence Programme will be led by a centre of excellence, which will work with up to 40 schools to develop teacher training resources and lesson materials for 11-16 years olds. 

Once developed, the programme will support schools over four years from 2022 to 2026, which will be evaluated for future years.

We will update this article when more information becomes available.

Latin in schools: what do different schools offer?

St Catherine’s CofE Primary School in Bolton introduces Latin to pupils in Key Stage 2. It explains:

Our intent for the teaching of Latin is to teach children in a rich, balanced and progressive curriculum, using Latin to support vocabulary development, a deeper understanding of grammatical structures in English and foreign languages and for children to investigate the derivatives of language alongside historical stories. The teaching of Latin follows a clear progression in line with age-related expectations.

Woking High School in Surrey offers Latin to pupils in Key Stages 3 and 4. The school explains:

In year 7, all students in band 1 for English study Latin from scratch and learn about Roman culture and society in the small, provincial town of Pompeii. A significant proportion of students then continue their study of Latin in years 8 and 9, where they learn about the eruption of Mount Vesuvius and how this affects the fortunes of Caecilius and his family. In year 9, students develop their skills in the language and also learn a little about the Roman occupation of Britain and other provinces. Assessment is carried out throughout the year with regular tri-weeklies and frequent vocabulary tests.

Impington Village College in Cambridgeshire have published their curriculum overviews for Latin

Tonbridge Grammar School in Kent offers GCSE latin for pupils. It explains:

GCSE Latin involves a systematic study of the Latin language as well as reading selections of literature by Roman authors. Previous GCSE literature selections have included Virgil’s account of Dido’s doomed love affair and subsequent suicide, Pliny’s letter describing the eruption of Vesuvius and the Druids’ practices of human sacrifice.

There is also a ‘background’ topic which teaches you about the society of the Roman world and puts your language studies into context.

We have published another support article which looks at the topic of if your school can ask you to teach outside your subject specialism.

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