Head of Department: Mr Magnus


Head of Department: Mr Magnus

  • Latin is an integral part of the Languages department here at Latymer. It is highly successful subject with regards to uptake and students & teachers alike enjoy diverse and interesting lessons. A very broad subject, students have the opportunity to learn in depth the vocabulary and grammar of this hugely important language, and in turn are able to understand and study their own more critically. Translation and comprehension of the Latin language plays a key part in the courses at all ages here at Latymer, but students also spend a considerable amount of time contextualising their work on the language, studying various aspects of Roman Life and Roman history. Our aim is to give our students the opportunity to access the language, literature and culture of the Romans, and consequently be able to reflect on their own languages, works of literature and different cultural practices.

    The department is staffed by two specialist teachers who use a variety of multi-media materials to stretch pupils of all abilities. Lessons are highly interactive, fun and all pupils relish the opportunity to get to grips with this challenging subject.

  • Students have the opportunity to choose Latin as their Second Language in Year 8 and can carry on right through to GCSE or A-Level. Initially working with the Cambridge Latin Course (books 1-3) our students learn to translate increasingly complex Latin sentences, gaining an appreciation of the grammatical structures used, while also learning about the lives of the Romans.

    Background topics covered include Pompeii and its destruction by Mt Vesuvius, Roman entertainment, Roman Britain including Aquae Sulis (modern day Bath), the effects of the Roman invasion on the Britons and the Roman Army.

    Year 8 have nine lessons and Year 9 have eight lessons each in a 2 week cycle. Class sizes vary between 20-30 pupils at this stage.

  • Having chosen to take Latin at GCSE, pupils carry on studying the language but also read and study a variety of prose and verse literature texts in the original Latin, in preparation for exams at the end of Year 11. The exam board used is OCR.

    Students will have a deeper and more complex understanding of Latin grammar and vocabulary and use this to translate accurately and answer questions about passages of Latin. The texts studied for the Literature sections of the GCSE change regularly but recent verse texts studied are Virgil’s Aeneid, book 2 (Escape From Burning Troy); Aeneid, book 12 (The Battle between Aeneas and Turns) and love poetry including poems from Catullus, Horace and Ovid. Recent prose texts which have been studied are Caesar and his writings on the Druids; Cicero’s case against Clodius; Tacitus’ history of Boudica and Pliny’s letter describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. To gain a fuller appreciation of these texts, students explore the historical and cultural background to them, and look at literary techniques used by the authors.

    There are no controlled assessments for Latin and all exams take place at the end of Year 11. Class sizes vary at GCSE but are typically between 20-25.

  • At AS and A2 Latin students continue to translate increasingly complex Latin passages, and their ability to translate fluently and subtly is examined at the end of each year in the Sixth Form. In addition, students study more Latin Literature and gain an appreciation of two set authors over the course of each year of their study. Class sizes vary enormously at this level, but are typically much smaller than at GCSE, with perhaps about 12 pupils or less. The exam board used is OCR.

    At AS students increase their knowledge of Latin grammar and vocabulary, and over the course of the year gain an increasingly subtle ability to translate unseen pieces of Latin. As with the GCSE, the Literature authors change fairly regularly but recently the Verse literature that has been studied has been Vergil’s famous epic poetry from Aenied book 4 and before that his take on the myth of Scylla in Metamorphoses book 8. The Prose literature text is currently an extract from Cicero’s Pro Milone, but prior to that it was his very important speech revealing Catiline’s plot against the Republic: In Catilinam book 1. At A2 students study set authors in preparation for the unseen translation and comprehension (this year Ovid and Livy) as well as Verse and Prose set texts. This year Tacitus’ Annals book 4 (as the Prose option) and a selection of Catullus’ poems (as the Verse option) have been studied and pupils will be able to write at length about the literary techniques employed by the author.

    Every year a number of pupils go on to study Classics or Latin at university: in recent years students have gone to a variety of institutions including Oxford, Cambridge, Royal Holloway and Warwick. Sixth formers have also enjoyed Classics Summer Schools and introductory course to Classics at London universities.

  • The Latin department runs a number of extra curricular activities and trips throughout the school year:

    Weekly lunchtime activities include Ancient Greek Club, Minimus (teaching Latin to local primary school pupils) and Latin Club (run by Sixth Formers).

    Additionally there is a GCSE Latin trip every two years to The Bay of Naples which is available to all those studying Latin GCSE or A-Level. This trip runs for five days in the Easter holidays.

    During the year there are a number of trips and days out for Latin students including a Year 8 trip to the Museum of London and a number of Sixth form Classics Lecture Days.