Latin – Curriculum Rationale and Design
Latin at Corporation Road is an important part of both our academic and personal development curriculum. It has been a considered choice for our school community, as we believe that the teaching of Latin best meets the needs of our children, when choosing a Language to teach at Key Stage 2 and to meet the National Curriculum requirements. We firmly believe that teaching Latin as our ‘Language’ facilitates children to develop a linguistic foundation for reading comprehension and an appreciation of classical civilization: our children have as much right to a strong Classics Education as any. Children will learn the context in which language is rooted, be it English or any other Latinate language going forward.
Key points to exemplify our rationale are:
Transience, Transition and Transference
Children can arrive at and leave our school at any given point. We are resolute that the time that children spend with us will leave them with skills, knowledge and experience which they can use and apply in new settings from day 1. Latin provides this assurance. As we cannot guarantee which languages children have experience of, or will go on to study in their next school, learning Latin provides no lost learning time – and a firm foundation for study of most languages at KS2 or KS3. The Language Trends Survey highlighted that only 4% of secondary schools have all Year 7’s start their KS3 curriculum with a congruent language been taught at Key Stage 3. We have a clear understanding and documentation of how the teaching of Latin supports the national curriculum expectations for Languages, but also the links to the English Curriculum (Grammar and Spelling in particular) and the explicit links to French – which are a useful aid for receiving schools who teach French as their KS2 or KS3 chosen language. Weak transition was highlighted in the OFTED Research Review into Languages as key issue for Language teaching. We are keen to share our curriculum, assessment outcomes and rationale for the teaching of Latin with any schools which our children may progress to.
In order to prepare our KS2 children for the new subject, children in Year 2 complete a ‘Word Roots’ course in the summer term of Year 2. This ignites children’s curiosity and begins to develop an early schema as to the design and origins of our language. The content of this is carefully planned in to our Latin curriculum overview to ensure appropriate progression – and opportunity for overlearning and reinforcement of this ‘new’ subject learning.
Staff Expertise and Pedagogy
The OFTED Research Review into Languages in English schools highlighted that low staff experience, confidence and subject knowledge were key stumbling blocks for many schools in providing an effective language curriculum and education. Latin implementation is guided carefully in our school, through a strong partnership with the ‘Classics for All’ charity. The CPD curriculum for teachers is progressive, and delivered before the point of teaching – so that learning is relevant and recent for the implementation of the planned curriculum. Importantly, we also have a network of schools within our Trust who deliver the Latin curriculum – networking, induction and ongoing peer support are key factors of in the success of the development of Latin across our school. The research review also highlighted that poorly designed language curricula also can impede successful language learning at Key Stage 2. As such, our Latin curriculum has been designed by the national experts in Latin education – based at the Classics for All charity. The clear and progressive planning, aligned with detailed resourcing allows teachers to deliver the programme with confidence and fidelity.
Motivation and Perception
We know that a significant demotivating factor for children learning a second language is fear of mis-pronunciation and the importance of accent. Latin diminishes these issues. Approximately 60% of English words have a Latinate roots, giving children a significant ‘head start’ in the learning of Latin. Latin is different, exciting and most parents at our school have no or limited experience of Latin in their own education. As such, we are primed to set the tone and perception of the subject – and to support parents to understand and value its importance too. Our website contains key information for parents – and all Year 3 parents are invited to a taster session to introduce the new subject to them as their child embarks on it! Year 3 children also kick of their formal study of Latin with a trip to Vindolanda! The home of the Romans in the north!
The teaching of the Latin curriculum has carefully planned stories and cultural sessions interwoven and embedded throughout the programme in order to ignite an interest in an appreciation of classical civilisation. We believe that the historical language, knowledge understanding from these sessions is vital to develop our children’s cultural capital beyond our history curriculum. Children develop a rich bank of knowledge linked to fables, myths and significant classical people and events. This important part of our classics education provides our children with a depth of classical knowledge and confidence and ‘hinterland’ that many children in primary schools do not develop.