Latin holds a quite special place at King’s House. Its tentacles are spread throughout the curriculum, into English classes, French classes, Science and even Computing.
The study of Latin gives the boys a greater understanding of correct grammatical usage in English and significantly aids their spelling. While focusing on Latin derivations, boys become intrigued by the roots of their own language: they find themselves drawn to the various meanings of words in English and even parallels in French vocabulary.
Boys have even used the regularity and formulaic nature of what they have learned to write code in their Computing classes to translate sentences from Latin.
Boys begin their journey into the Classical World at the end of Year 5 when they are introduced to Latin and the breadth of the Roman Empire as well as its numerous legacies. From Year 6, each boy receives two hours of Latin per week, during which he will gain an understanding of the rudiments of Latin grammar, the formation of basic sentences and he will begin to build a vocabulary which increases weekly. “Who Said Latin’s Dead” specially written for Common Entrance, offers a workbook-centred scheme of work in which we follow the exploits of two 21st century students of Latin who are transported back to the Colosseum in Rome at the time of Emperor Hadrian. Using the narrative of the story, our heroes, Guy and Olivia, learn about life (and death) in Rome and try to find their way back to 21st Century England. On this journey, the boys learn all the grammar and vocabulary necessary to be proficient at Common Entrance level and beyond. From Year 7, boys are streamed into three sets in Latin and in Year 8, those boys who are being prepared for Scholarship exams are given extra tuition, which will bring them close to GCSE level.
While there are many aspects of learning Latin which have not changed since many of the boys’ parents were themselves at school, we use technology, where appropriate, to enhance the teaching of certain elements and embed critical areas such as vocabulary. Boys bring laptops to every class and they are used frequently for various exercises, assessments and games which help and motivate them in their studies.
Beyond the classroom, Latin has a prominent place at King’s House with termly Latin speaking competitions, a whole school vocab competition and we send a team to represent the school in the Victor Verborum contest at Hampton School each year. There is also a bi-annual trip to Italy to visit Vesuvius, Pompeii and Rome which has always proved popular.