Students in Years 6-8 learn to read Latin, building up a vocabulary and studying Latin grammar. They learn about the people who spoke Latin: their cities, their stories, laws and lives. We look too at Ancient Greek mythology, such a huge influence on the Romans’ culture and sense of self.
The learning we do in life doesn’t always have to be geared towards fitting in to a commercially-driven future. We relish the fact that Latin is still here on our 21st century students’ timetables looking quirky alongside their maths, critical thinking, drama and biology – and there is so much that Lockers Park students take from their lessons:
- Opening their eyes to the technicalities of language we use every day.
- Problem-solving capability, using multiple grammar rules and a whole new vocabulary when translating.
- Enhanced memory, through continual learning of new vocabulary and grammar.
- How to work quickly and effectively, extracting relevant information from a range of reference sources and using it to help themselves.
- An appreciation of the mythologies different cultures create for themselves.
Day by day, students learn new grammar, ask questions and practise translating together as a class. Years 6 and 7 follow the Cambridge Latin Course, beginning in ancient Pompeii around the time of Vesuvius’ eruption and following a Pompeian family through their everyday lives, momentous historical events, and travels through Egypt and Celtic Britain. In Year 8 students consolidate their learning from the past two years with work tailored to their exam papers.
We learn the ancient classical stories, discussing constantly their idiosyncrasies; the human dilemmas and emotions they contain; how different Western lives were thousands of years ago; or how a myth might chime with a current news event, fashion or way of thinking. Seen through new eyes every year, the same Greek myths bring about new talking points and fresh perspectives. One year, Alexander the Great’s adoption of Medusa’s severed head as a symbol made us think about human superstition and how we embrace or shy away from dark subjects. Year 8 drew parallels between the aftermath of the Trojan War and today’s refugees from war-torn Syria.
Students apply their Latin knowledge, linguistic and cultural, in their entry exams to their next schools. What we begin here at Lockers Park, students build on at GCSE and beyond, reading the histories, stories and poetry of the ancient world, just as passed down through the millennia.