When Dean John Colet founded his school at the height of the European renaissance, he unusually required that pupils ‘of all nacions and countries indifferently’ be taught ‘both Laten and Greke’.
Today, some five centuries later, we are fortunate to uphold this rich intellectual tradition. In the Lower Second Year, all study Greek mythology; in the Upper Second, Lower Third and Upper Third Years, Latin is a core part of the curriculum; moreover, in the Upper Third Year all pupils study Ancient Greek to further deepen their knowledge of and appreciation for Classical languages.
In their studies, pupils are encouraged to develop a closer command of language, a deeper appreciation of words and their origins, and an understanding of how the Greeks and Romans laid the foundations of western civilisation. For those who wish to explore further, two weekly classical societies, ‘Minimus’ and ‘in scriptum veritas’, allow pupils to deepen their knowledge of the ancient world. In all that we do, we hope to imbue pupils with intellectual rigour (a Latin word) and enthusiasm (a Greek one).
11+ New Pupils’ Latin lessons
Here are some quotes from pupils who started Latin after joining the school at 11+. We hold classes for these pupils in the summer term before starting at St Paul’s Juniors so that they can get to know each other while getting to grips with the Latin language.
“Coming from a school where we had started learning Latin in year 5, I thought that I would not benefit from the extra Latin lessons and that it would be a waste. I quickly found out that not only is it fun, it’s also fast paced and informative; a good way to understand how teaching is done at SPJ. But by far the best thing about it was that it was an amazing way to meet your future classmates.” – Alp
“I think that the Saturday course was an amazing opportunity to meet new friends while learning Latin. I think I learnt a lot from the course and had a lot of fun in the process. It helped for us, new boys, to catch up with the old boys and discover, for most of us, a new language. Overall I think it was very fun and interesting and was a great way to prepare for the start of the year.” – Raphael
Primary school partnerships
The Classics department are keen to engage the wider community in the study of Latin and Greek. We run a project for local primary school pupils in Year 5 to come along to St Paul’s Juniors and learn Latin and Greek one afternoon a week for 10 weeks. Here’s what some previous pupils have said about the programme:
“I have already learned so much over the short period of time. If I finish something early, I am always given a new challenge by the teacher. It is a fun, interesting way to spend an afternoon which I always look forward to.” – Jack
“It has been really fun learning Classics. We learned about the structures of words etc. I love Latin because we translate sentences. Greek is great too because we learn about Greek gods.” – Arya
“I have really loved my wonderful experience here, it’s so fun and I’ve learned so much.” – Amelie
The Classics department has made a bespoke e-learning website for every pupil to use when learning Latin and Greek. It is called edisce! and is a platform which holds online quizzes on grammar and vocabulary. It provides instant feedback and pupils can complete activities as many times as they need to master a topic.
Clubs and Enrichment
The ‘In Scriptum Veritas’ club encourages pupils to get to grips with the politicians, playwrights and poets of the ancient world. Younger ancient world enthusiasts may join our First Year Latin Club, ‘Minimus’.