The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

Newsletter 26: June 2005

Dear Classical Friend,

This month's topics:

Summer School : Pyrrha's site : Heathfield School : Latin comes into the timetable! : After Minimus : After GCSE : Teachers' TV : Exam Comments


End-of-term feeling yet?


So, public exams drawing to a close. A level Latin, Ancient History and Class Civ, and AQA GCSE Latin still to come, by my reckoning. Then it will be the time to look forward to the ARLT Summer School. The Option Group details are now on line here: There's a special page about the Latin Conversation option here: , and the texts for my Reading Group here:

I have heard at least one teacher say that the Summer School is the highlight of her year. There's great value to be gained by attending regularly year after year, and making long-term friends; but your first Summer School can (and probably will) be an exciting experience too.


Lots of lovely e-mails


I'm not being sarcastic - I love all the e-mails that come to me via the ARLT web site. This newsletter is going to consist of some of my e-correspondence. It cheers me up, sometimes makes me think hard, and gives some picture of Classics teaching in this country. There is also a resources offer, and a TV suggestion.


News from Pyrrha


If your school has Anne Dicks' video (it came out quite a time ago) on reading Roman tombstones and visualising Latin poetry, you'll be interested in her web site. I commented to her on the fact that her school, Malvern Girls' College, says it is possible to take AS Greek from scratch, and she replied:

We have not had an absolute beginner for AS Greek since the syllabus changed, and at the moment have no Greek A level at all. We recommend that any possible takers go to a summer school first and the literature we give out emphasises that it would not be an easy option : but it is definitely possible for the right student!

I would like to offer a link to some downloadable resources I have just made available for my present GCSE students. There are some recordings of the English version of Aeneid 2 in mp3, so that students can listen and read at the same time and some powerpoints which revise a few key constructions. (NB please don't infer from the translations that my students learn my translation off by heart: they all have their own personalised versions but this was just put together as general revision!)


In case you are interested the school website is:

I did put a link to the Pyrrha site on the ARLT Blog at once - I know it's too late to be useful this year, but it's a site to keep visiting. Thanks, Anne!


This sounds all too familiar


Deborah Dicks (any relation?) is fighting the good fight in Heathfield School in Pinner, Middlesex:

We do run both Classics and Latin, although, as I suspect is the case everywhere, we have to work very hard to maintain numbers and so I am always on the lookout for any way to promote the subject, such as activities, trips, ways in which Latin can help other subjects, etc. etc. I am sure you know what I mean!

Thanks for an excellent site.

Deborah [Dicks]


Now just take this news in ...


This is from Dr. Edith Holding at Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College, and it really cheered me up:

I am just about to begin teaching Latin within the curriculum, having taught it here to volunteers during lunchtime for the last two years. We'll begin with 20 very bright, well motivated souls from year 9, and then offer it at GCSE thereafter as well.

I am an English teacher by trade, though I also teach Critical Thinking. However, the whole thing is my initiative: I have always loved the Latin language and Roman history and thought it would make a fascinating addition to what we offer here.

I have found the Classics community terribly welcoming and generous with their resources and support!


Isn't that just great?


After Minimus, what?


Here's a bit of correspondence that I pass on just as it happened.

Query | My daughter (aged 10) would love to continue Latin when she leaves her junior school to move onto her secondary school which does not offer this option. I wonder whether you have any knowledge of such a club in the Kingston, Surrey area who offers such a service, or perhaps a list of private tutors. Thank you

Dear D....,

You have hit a problem that is, I fear, going to be all too common. I don't know if your daughter is learning with Minimus, but very many children are, and it raises hopes that most secondary schools do not at present fulfil. I'm afraid I don't have details of Latin Clubs or tutors in your area.

My advice in the FAQ section is here: /home/arltcouk/public_html/arlt_db.php? catID=50#latin_school.

It doesn't quite address your situation, but it may have some pointers. The following is additional to the FAQ stuff:

Try to get together all the parents whose children have been learning Latin with your daughter and present a united front to the secondary school. Enlist the help of their present teacher. Choice and parent power in schools are 'in' at the moment!

If the new school cannot or will not help, set up a Latin Club between you. The FAQ points you to materials that non-Latinists can use to teach Latin.

Approach the local paper, radio, TV, with the story. A photo of a group of eager 10 year olds clutching Latin books, along with quotes from them and their parents about how much fun it is and how useful it is going to be would make a good story. See the ARLT blog for examples, mainly from the USA, of such stories. . See particularly, for reasons for learning Latin, The result will not only be a little gentle pressure on secondary schools, but the possibility that a reader might volunteer to help with a Latin Club.

If your daughter used Minimus, contact the author via the Minimus-etc. site: She is a real enthusiast, and almost certainly has faced this question many times. Her snail mail address is Barbara Bell, 82 Swiss Drive, Ashton, Bristol BS3 2RW.

JACT tries to keep a list of Latin teachers/tutors. It would be worth an email to them. They have a Contact page.

I'm afraid this all sounds a bit strenuous! But to be honest, if there is to be a revival of Latin learning it will depend on people like you pushing hard.

Best of luck!


Dear David

Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions. It is my intention to write to the school and ask whether they would consider starting a lunchtime/after school club. I'll let you know what progress I manage to achieve.


If you have any comments on this issue that you would like to be aired on the Blog or elsewhere, do let me know.


And is there Latin after GCSE?


I aired this one on the Blog, but you may have missed it, so I repeat it here. We send quite a large number of students into the big w. w. every year with a GCSE Latin qualification and no suggestions for keeping up the language. They are not all as mature and articulate as Gavin McLeod:

I believe I wrote to you before with a query regarding my sitting of the AQA Latin GCSE this year. I do not study Latin at college, but have, with the aid of a clergyman with Latin O-Level, been studying independently the Cambridge Latin Course- (up to Book 4) for about a year now.

I'm sitting the first paper next Friday, and, having finished my AS commitments, am now concentrating on finishing my Caesar and Virgil translations, ready to learn them as much by rote as possible, along with various language exercises, for instance in CLC 4.

Indications are relatively good. Based on my taking of AQA papers and various other things, I am confident of passing with at least a C, and hopefully a B or above, subject to just how thoroughly I commit my set texts to memory.

However I am not sure about what to do after my exam. Latin is a project of mine that I have kept going with, and so I put that down to genuine enthusiasm on my part for the subject. Consequently, it seems illogical to bring my studying of the subject to such an abrupt end.

Nevertheless AS level Latin is, I feel, probably beyond me. Even if I were to gain an A or A*, something that my tutor is hopeful of, I am very conscious of the massive jump from GCSE to AS-Level, something I am fully aware of having experienced the change in my German course. I believe this jump to be probably beyond my, and quite possibly, my tutor's, modest capabilities. Worse, having experienced a "crash course," I suspect that my knowledge of the subject is merely sufficient to pass the exam, nothing more, since I have not had knowledge of it for 5 years as most other GCSE candidates have had.

The situation is compounded by the fact that it is my intention to do four A2s next year. I do not particularly want to abandon Latin there and then, but nor do I want to have the work and stress of the AS Level along with my A2s, if my abilities will not allow it.

I no much rests on my result this summer, but I was wondering what other possibilities are there for me, should I choose to take them.

I appreciate all that you can do to advise me.


Gavin McLeod.

All I have done so far is tell Gavin that I would share his question with teachers on the Blog and here, and see whether anyone comes up with a good suggestion. Over to you!


TV in the wee small hours


See what you make of this.

Name | Nimer Rashed

Topic | Teachers' TV Associates


Query | Salve!

I'm writing to you from Teachers' TV regarding our upcoming 'Associates' scheme, which launches in September. In essence, we are looking for a network of champions of the channel in schools across England who will promote Teachers' TV and pass on information about us to colleagues. In return, they will receive preview information about programmes, have priority invitations to Teachers' TV events and the opportunity to feed back to us. They will also be put on the Teachers' TV database – the first point of contact for the channel.

It's open to teachers and school staff and we're really keen to have as many members involved as possible. If you could forward me details of whoever looks after your mailing list, then I'd love to talk to them further about the scheme.

Warm regards,

Nimer Rashed


Email |


I replied that if Teachers' TV is planning Classics teaching programmes I'd be very interested in supporting the venture. I haven't heard back yet. I liked Nimer's greeting!


How were the exams for your pupils?


If you would like to use the ARLT Notice Board to discuss this summer's exam papers, please do. I shall open an Exams topic, and post Brian Bishop's protest about rewriting Classics authors as a start.

See /home/arltcouk/public_html/forum/index.php?method=showhtmllist&list=topic&rollid=14&clearoff=1

Hope to meet many of you at the Summer School.

Best wishes,