Curriculum Intent & Rationale
Our vision is to instil in our students a rich understanding of the Latin language – and through this develop their grammatical literacy in English – and an enthusiastic appreciation for the Classical civilisations that underpin much of the arts today, whilst also challenging students to think critically about these historical cultures which can be very alien to our modern world.
Often seen as the preserve of the elite, we instead aim to enable our students to discover how Latin can be progressive and relevant to all and how the study of ancient Mediterranean civilisations, including Rome, Greece and Egypt, can still be meaningful.
The overall intent behind our curriculum has three broad strands:
- To develop understanding of the Latin language, with the goal of being able to engage with texts written by Roman authors in a more significant way than can be achieved by simply reading them in translation.
- To develop critical understanding and knowledge of ancient Mediterranean culture, civilisation, literature, mythology and history – with a focus on the Roman Republic and Empire, but also including Greece and Egypt – and expand students’ cultural literacy in being able to engage with these foundations of modern Western literature, arts and philosophy.
- To develop transferable skills and enhance students’ understanding of other subjects:
- to improve students’ English and MFL vocabulary, through the understanding of upper tier/high level derivatives of Latin words (which make up nearly 60% of English);
- to improve students’ understanding of English and MFL grammar, through the explicit teaching of grammatical constructions;
- to develop students’ analytical skills when considering both literary texts and historical source material.
Implementing Our Curriculum
All students study Latin in KS3. Additionally, students in Year 7 learn either French, German, or Spanish, and those in Years 8 and 9 study two modern foreign languages alongside Latin. Russian is offered by the languages department as an enrichment activity. At the end of Year 9, pupils opt for at least one language to study at GCSE. If they choose Latin then they may study a second modern language, as an optional subject.
Our Latinists follow the Cambridge Latin Course throughout Years 7-11, supplemented with the inclusion of further interesting and motivational aspects of Classical Civilisation, including ancient history and mythology. At A Level we complete the CLC early in Year 12, before moving on to more advanced textbooks such as Via Plana, Latin Beyond GCSE and Prose and Ovid Unseens.
Key Stage 3
All students in Years 7 and 8 have one Latin lesson a fortnight. Latin at this stage in the curriculum is very much an enrichment activity, designed to introduce students to the language and develop their knowledge of the Roman and Classical worlds (and their inherent cultural capital), alongside encouraging a wider English vocabulary of upper tier words, since sophisticated English words are often derived from Latin.
In Year 9 students move to having one Latin lesson a week. This increase in frequency is excellent preparation for those intending to pursue Latin at GCSE, and allows us not only to strengthen students’ understanding of the language, but also to explore the wider civilisations of the ancient Mediterranean, including mythology and history, as well as delve into Roman Britain. We follow the Cambridge Latin Course, discovering the world of first century AD Pompeii and meeting a cast of characters of whom our students become very fond.
Key Stage 4
The GCSE curriculum continues the blend of language and civilisation studied at KS3, whilst also giving students the opportunity to study Roman literature in the original Latin.
These three strands map on to the three units that are assessed at GCSE, and students at KS4 receive 5 lessons per fortnight with a Latin specialist. Students focus on learning Latin language during Year 10, in order to prepare them for moving on to Latin literature in Year 11; the literature topic area for examination in 2022 and 2023 is Superstition and Magic.
Alongside their language and literature work, students also study elements of Roman civilisation, which both enhances their understanding of the language and the literature, and also prepares them for the civilisation paper; the topic area for examination in 2022 and 2023 is Daily Life in a Roman Town.
We offer a trip to the Roman Baths in Bath for our Year 10 Latinists, which feeds perfectly into both the Daily Life topic, and also the Superstition and Magic topic, as one of the original sources studied in this unit (a curse tablet) is on display at the museum there.
Key Stage 5
Latin AS and A Level combine the study of both language and literature, within the context of Roman culture and history.
The language units at AS and A Level are similar to those at GCSE – with some passages to translate, and some to answer comprehension questions on – but instead of working with passages of Latin that have been written by the examiners, students read original extracts by Roman authors.
The literature units are also similar to the experience of Latin literature at GCSE, and students will be able to draw upon their analytical skills in order to critically examine the author’s literary style as well as demonstrate their understanding of the text. Students will be carefully guided through reading unadapted original Latin material in both prose and verse by our subject specialists.