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“Aequam memento rebus in arduis servare mentem.” “Remember to keep a calm head in difficult times.”

Head of Department: Mr S Magnus

Teachers: Mr P Ninkovic

Latin is 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.

Some benefits of learning Latin include:

  • Lifts academic outcomes in other subjects.
  • Assists understanding of mathematical concepts.
  • Strengthens English literacy skills.
  • Facilitates learning another modern language.
  • Provides exposure to ancient history, literature and philosophy.
  • Prepares pupils for a wide range of scientific, legal or medical careers.
  • Equips a child for coding and computer programming.
  • Rewards students with an enhanced CV and UCAS application.


Students can choose Latin as their Second Language in Year 8 and can carry on right through to GCSE. 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 Mount 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 two-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 Germanicus 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 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.


Studying classics will highlight your ability to learn and comprehend challenging subjects. You will also develop your ability to research, collate and analyse materials and learn to critically evaluate resources in order to formulate arguments, which you can present competently. You will be able to work alone or within a team and to think imaginatively.

Classics graduates therefore enter the jobs market with specific, practical, intellectual and theoretical skills. Classics graduates often find themselves entering the business world. Their mastery of languages, alongside good research and strong analytic skills, endear graduates to lucrative fields such as consultancy, management, finance or even accountancy.

Classics graduates can also consider roles in fields such as advertising, PR or marketing, where their strong communication skills, bright ideas and well researched plans are highly valued.

Photo by Luca Tosoni on Unsplash