The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Newsletter 29: September 2005

Dear Fellow Classicist,

I hope the new school year has begun well for you. There was no newsletter in August, so you didn't miss anything you should have had. This one is going to be (mercifully) short.


The ARLT web site and blog


The statistics of visitors are encouraging, but some of the visits are by automatic devices looking for a chance to advertise gambling and other undesirable activities. That's why I've stopped the experiment of letting people comment without registering their details. With that proviso, the figures for the past two months are:

ARLT site 6373 visitors in August; 8004 in September

ARLTBlog 35,284 visitors in August; 38,136 in September

I tend to put new things on the Blog rather than the main site, so if you notice the main site being out of date in some way, do please tell me about it. With a number of sites to administer I tend to miss these things.




New GCSE Latin for 2007

The general specification, with the reduced vocabulary lists, is here.

The Cambridge Latin site vocabulary tester tests, naturally, the longer list, which is still needed for 2006.

For a balanced view of taking A level Latin, The Independent has this (published in 2002)


A former pupil's GCSE notes on-line


Gareth introduces himself as "Hi, I'm Gareth and this is my site. .... A proportion of my GCSE notes are available online along with some other revision materials. I'm 18 and am in year 13 at Hills Road sixth form college, Cambridge. ..."

His GCSE Latin page is here:

At the foot is this acknowledgement: With thanks to Mr. Andrew Wilson and Mr. W. Griffiths.


Some welcome correspondence


First, two letters from Kristian Waite at Caterham:

Dear David

Many thanks for your note, and I look forward to receiving future newsletters. As you say, it's easy to feel a bit under siege - I'm a one-man band at Caterham, which has certain benefits, but also obvious disadvantages, particularly if anything goes wrong!

I've been busy writing a Latin textbook for all my classes from the 3rd year (Year 9) onwards, having finally reached the decision that the CLC no longer suits my needs and covers too much extraneous material (and vocab) of no immediate relevance to the GCSE syllabus. Next year will be the first year where the changeover is complete. Perhaps I can write a progress report for your website in a few months' time. If anything the changeover has attracted more people to doing Latin GCSE as an option here, and it certainly makes me more comfortable about covering the syllabus in good time.

Talking of which, do you know if OCR have any immediate plans to publish the new GCSE Latin and Greek syllabuses (for summer 2007) and wordlist in the immediate future? Leaving it until September seems to be cutting it rather fine. est wishes,


I was interested in the new Latin textbook, so I asked Kris for more information:

Dear David

Thanks for getting back. Basically, my textbook picks up from Common Entrance. In Years 7-8 I run a Common Entrance course to Level 2, using a book called "Latin Prep" (Galore Park), which is very old fashioned (basically, Wilding, with colour and pictures), but the children have really taken to it. Also, CE seems to have a lot more in common (vocab and grammar-wise) with GCSE than book 1 of the CLC, and it means that we cover exactly the same work as the pupils who join after taking CE at 13+. As far as paralinguistic work goes, I cherry-pick the best bits from the CLC (theatre, gladiators, baths) and do my own sheets; the less interesting stuff (farming in Britain etc.) can safely and discreetly be put to one side.

The two books I've done, for Years 9-10, are basically a mixture of Wilding, Siegel and lots of other influences that I've liked and absorbed along the way. One bit of grammar per chapter; lots of exercises; one unseen and comprehension at the end of every chapter; everything scrupulously based around the GCSE wordlist and grammar requirement. Nothing fancy, but I've tried to personalise it a bit and add some cartoons and humour. The obvious advantage is that if books get lost then new ones can be run off cheaply and quickly. I encourage mine to add notes along the way or highlight things so that they can focus revision more effectively. Ditto with the GCSE wordlist and principal parts at the back.

I'm quite keen on getting pupils to pronounce Latin and read it aloud, but it's not really a coursebook like the CLC; there is a lot of English explanation along the way.

I'll let you know how it goes. As far as OCR goes I had hoped to update my Greek stuff this summer, since they're taking a scythe to the vocabulary list. Looks like it will be a bit of a last minute job in the autumn with that one.

Kristian Waite

I have edited the next letter a little, even though it doesn't identify the school. I wrote to Emma saying that I couldn't find a Classics web site for her school:

Hi yes regrettably our subject site it is only available on the Intranet. Headed by a picture of Brad Pitt as Achilles! Oh the lengths we go to ...

We have a thriving department here. We are currently capped at 50 students in Year 8, and are always over-subscribed - huge numbers of parental complaints are currently being dealt with as a result of children not getting Latin next year! When our current Head of Languages retires (2 years' time) I think they may let us expand at the expense of German and/or Russian - we are losing several language teachers at that time, so no-one would have to be made redundant (which is the reason I don't push for more numbers right now.)

Given that the whole of the options process works against us (the children are only allowed to do nine subjects, 6 of which are compulsory plus two others "strongly advised"), we're pretty pleased with our numbers too! At AS this year we had 13, and we had 16 in the previous year. The numbers do drop at A2 as loads of them take AS Latin as a 5th subject. I spent some time during my training at Brentwood School in Essex, a huge private school, where Latin was compulsory for all students in Years 7 and 8. They had two doing A level!

Mind you, it is all pretty exhausting...!

I'll be interested to see what is available on your site. I spend a simply unbelievable amount of time creating resources, especially electronic ones now we have lots of Smart Boards in the school. I am really jealous of teachers in mainstream subjects, who have loads of stuff created for them!

Good to be in touch



An exhibition in Liverpool


Museum of Liverpool Life exhibition until the end of the year on Living with the Romans:


They asked for an article


I was contacted by an American-based organisation, Foreign Language Educators, who asked for a short account of ARLT and Latin teaching in the UK, and this is what I sent them. It is to be published in their October edition. I hope other ARLT members approve.

ARLT and Latin Teaching in the United Kingdom

As long ago as 1911 W.H.D. Rouse, a headmaster in Cambridge, England, who was a brilliant Latin scholar, was concerned at the state of Latin teaching. He organised the first Summer School for Latin teachers, at which he explained and demonstrated his new teaching method. Instead of pupils learning grammar by rote and then writing translations of Latin into English and English into Latin, Rouse advocated teaching Latin in Latin. His lessons were full of movement, as a boy (his school was for boys only) got up from his seat saying 'surgo' (meaning I'm getting up), took a few steps across the classroom saying 'ambulo' (I am walking), turned and walked back saying 'revenio' (I am coming back) and sat down saying 'sedeo' (no need for translation?).

Rouse founded the Association for the Reform of Latin Teaching (ARLT) in 1913, and enthusiasts have been meeting every year since then. The strict use of Direct Method teaching has largely been abandoned - it needed a teacher of Rouse's brilliance to make it fully effective - but many of the principles that the Direct Method embodied - using Latin as a living language, engaging the interest of the pupils by gripping stories and so on - have been taken up by the ground-breaking, and now well established, Cambridge Latin Course.

Ten or more years ago the ARLT concluded that the work of reform had been done, and that the organisation should continue as the Association for Latin Teaching. The initials ARLT, however, had become so dear to many teachers, particularly of the older generation, that they were retained, although the R is now otiose.

ARLT joined with two other Classical organisations, the Classical Association and the now defunct Orbilian Society, to found the Joint Association of Classics Teachers, JACT. This is now the main professional organisation for Classics teachers, and runs courses and residential Summer Schools for pupils in Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation, while ARLT retains its role as trainer and inspirer of teachers, with a Refresher Day each March and a Summer School each July. Its website,, and its blog,, attract between them over 1000 visitors a day.

The teaching of Latin in the UK, as in the USA, is now mainly in private schools (but see here, and numbers opting for it continue to drop; but the ARLT, like Friends of the Classics, an initiative of the erudite and entertaining Dr Peter Jones, does what it can to turn the tide.




That's All, Folks! I have probably left out much that I had meant to include, but am a bit distracted at the moment as a dear friend has just had a brain tumour removed and I am spending quite a time in hospital with her. Prayer would be appreciated.

Best wishes