From September 2022, pupils at St Mary’s have been studying Latin.
National Curriculum guidance states that teaching within the languages curriculum may be of any modern or ancient foreign language and should focus on enabling pupils to make substantial progress in one language.
The exciting and innovative decision by our school to teach Latin has been made because of the rich opportunities that come with learning this ancient language. As well as being a fascinating language in its own right, knowledge of Latin helps to develop literacy skills. Our pupils will develop their knowledge of spelling and vocabulary through learning Latin roots of English words and deepen their understanding of grammar. Alongside language learning, the study of Roman and Greek civilisations encourages cultural insights and gives opportunities for wide-ranging thinking across many linked subjects (including history, art, maths and science).
At St Mary’s, pupils in Key Stage 2 receive weekly Latin lessons through an intensive scheme of work provided by Maximum Classics that includes both language learning and classics (study of Ancient Rome and Greece), enabling them to make substantial progress in the language. Lessons provide a balance of spoken and written language, enabling children to understand and communicate ideas, facts and feelings in speech and writing. The focus is to provide a foundation for reading comprehension and an appreciation of classical civilisation.
Maximum Classics is a scheme and set of digital resources that teaches the Latin language in a way that enhances English literacy, both in its choice of vocabulary and grammar covered. It consists of sixteen units, each with a particular grammar focus. It is designed to be teachable by non-specialist teachers and accessible by all abilities of pupil.
One of the main benefits of teaching Latin is its useful interplay with English grammar and vocabulary. The Maximum Classics scheme explores the history behind the English language’s links to Latin and Ancient Greek. Vocabulary used on the course is selected to facilitate the exploration of interplay between Latin and English vocabulary and every lesson incorporates games or activities drawing on this. The course also tracks elements such as word class, tense and auxiliary verbs using the same terminology used in English grammar teaching. In addition, each unit features a myth or historical story, which is told in a mixture of Latin and English to promote retention and recall of vocabulary.
Our aim is that learning Latin will put our pupils in a strong position to start Key Stage 3 as competent and confident language learners. The Maximum Classics scheme is built around vocabulary that is at the foundation of romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian and has its foundations in skills that will stand our pupils in good stead for whichever language they learn at secondary level and beyond.