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Latin and the Classics

“… the world of the ancient Greeks and Romans, some forty lifetimes before our own, but still able to challenge us by a humanity shared with ours” Robin Lane Fox

We believe that it is important to offer Latin as part of a broad and balanced curriculum. Latin is the basis of the modern Romance languages and so complements the pupils’ study of French as well as being a fascinating language in its own right. It provides an excellent foundation for the languages that the pupils will be offered at Secondary level, such as further French, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

Many English words are derived from Latin and its study develops vocabulary, dictionary skills, and to understand the grammar of English and other languages. The practice of translation develops language and literacy skills and develops logical thinking.  

Latin also provides an opportunity for pupils to learn about the history of Britain under the Roman Empire, to examine another culture and compare and contrast it with that of today. The study of Latin introduces children to the myths and legends of the classical world that have influenced literature through the ages. We find that pupils gain an enormous sense of achievement from studying what is perceived to be a difficult subject, and helps pupils to leave Ashdown House with a confident approach to literacy and language learning.

As far as non-linguistic aspects of the classics are concerned, we have now introduced a Classical Civilisation course introducing and investigating Roman life and history. This is taught in an interactive manner, involving dressing up as soldiers, constructing a model amphitheatre and comparing life of the Romans to our own.