Students at a school in Wisbech followed the motto “carpe diem” and took the opportunity to become among the only children in the area to learn Latin.
Peckover Primary introduced weekly one-hour classes on Latin and Classical Civilization for all students in Key Stage 2 – i.e. years 3, 4, 5 and 6.
They learn this unusual subject from teacher Louisa Thompson, responsible for the school’s English and vocabulary and Latin coordinator.
She spent the summer holidays with her fellow teacher Claire McIlhiney of Beanfield Primary School in Corby, who like Peckover is part of the Brooke Weston Trust, attending an online summer school hosted by Harrow School and Classics for All, for more on the subject.
Louisa, a former student of Wisbech Grammar, is very enthusiastic about languages ââand is delighted to teach Latin to her students.
She explained that the Brooke Weston Trust’s curriculum group – which is made up of senior leaders and subject matter specialists who set the curriculum for its schools – decided to go for Latin over a modern foreign language.
Louisa said that the choice of Latin was made for many reasons, not least because 60% of the English language is derived from Latin. Many Latin words are similar to their English ancestors and to other languages ââin lands invaded by the Romans.
She said: âThis means that English students as well as those for whom English is an additional language are able to make connections between words in multiple languages. As they get used to the ever increasing complexity in their knowledge of Latin vocabulary and word roots, it will deepen their understanding of English and the other languages ââthey speak.
âStudies have shown that children who study Latin are likely to see better results in other subjects of the curriculum, for example, they will gain a deeper understanding of mathematical and scientific vocabulary.
âLearning about classical civilization and culture provides exposure to a culture outside of our own and deepens understanding of children’s history.
“Once the reserve of students in independent and public schools, we firmly believe that our children too deserve this high quality education and we do everything possible to provide it to them.”
The bespoke Latin curriculum focuses on several areas including grammar, vocabulary, and culture, where children also study ancient mythology, Roman culture, and art.
The design of the program was supported by Classics For All, which aims to promote classical education for all children, regardless of age or background.
Each term, children will study in detail a specific grammatical concept and apply it in several different contexts; they will also have a myth eventually.
This term is Perseus and Medusa and they will also learn elements of the culture within the Roman Empire, for example this term they learn the structure and hierarchy of Roman-British society including slaves, masters and governors.
Louisa said: “We have worked hard to make sure the course and program design matches the latest research on how children are able to learn more, remember more and do more.”