The Association for Latin Teaching

respice prospice

ARLT Newsletter 37: May 2007


Dear Classical Friend,

Yikes! There has been no newsletter since January. My humble apologies.

It's not for lack of news. Since the last newsletter we have had great media coverage of the Classics, almost all positive.

First, there was the survey from Cambridge on the encouraging increase in the number of state schools offering Latin. The next step is to find Latin teachers. I.T. is fine, but the Cambridge DVDs don't (yet) cover the ground up to GCSE, and there is a real shortage of teachers.

Which reminds me of Lorna Robinson's work with iris and Classics in state schools. Lorna emailed this morning to say that there is urgent need for a Latin teacher for 2 hours a week in a state secondary school in the Preston area, this September. If you are, or know, a retired Latin teacher in that area, please consider this. Lorna has had good press coverage recently.

Then there was the furore about Ancient History at A level. For once the protests were effective, and the exam is saved. You may have seen Private Eye's cartoon in the magazine or on our blog. A togaed (sort of) Boris Johnson's part in receiving the petition must have helped, along with the prospect of sixth form girls in ancient dress. But OCR's apparently baseless claim to have consulted before taking their decision to axe the exam laid them open to strong criticism, as did the growing numbers taking AS and A2.

I just don't know if you follow all this on the ARLT blog, but if you don't, then please, please enter your email address in the little box on the right of the blog, and you will get a daily email telling you the subjects covered in the day's blog entries. You can choose to ignore those that don't interest you, and go with one click to the entries that look important to you.


Summer School


If you haven't sent in your application for the ArLT Summer School, it's not too late.

A reminder of the dates and place: Sunday 22nd - Wednesday 25th July, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

The cost, to quote the website,

is only £260 and should be met from your school's INSET budget

is halved for PGCE students

can be reduced by £100 bursaries and/or first-timers' discount of £50.

Daily rate (24 hrs): £87

Non- resident: £30 per day plus meals

The news is that Rob Soames has taken over as Director, and is very busy finalising the arrangements.

I have heard a Classics teacher say that Summer School is the high point of her year! If you have not yet made up your mind to come, may I heartily recommend that you do.

With the change of Director there may be minor changes in the programme, so consult /home/arltcouk/public_html/summer_school/2007_index.php for the latest.


March Refresher Day


I'd just like to put on record what a great day the March INSET in Coventry was, and to thank Peter Geall and all who helped him get it on the road.

My report posted during the day is here: and a short video and further report is here:


Jason and the Argonauts on stage next week


From Mardi MacGregor:

I am the producer of 'Jason and the Argonauts' a play devised by the company from Apollonius of Rhodes' epic poem Argonautica, written in Alexandria in the late 3rd century BC. Our target audience is age 11 plus, and we feel that the show would be particularly enjoyable for classics student. The play is showing at the Oxford Fire Station from Tuesday May 29th until Saturday June 2nd starting at 7.30pm each evening with a matinee at 2.30pm on the Saturday also.

When you buy 10 tickets you get one free. Ticket cost £8.50, concessions £6.50.


Reporting from the chalk-face


A selection of emails from teachers who registered with the ArLT website. They report on very varied experiences, from Angela in Croatia to Julia in Wales, via Alex in the USA.

From Angela Rozic:

The circumstances in Croatia are changing, and a lack of information, some kind of isolation that lasted for a long time (all my life, and I am 45 years old), finally is over. This situation allow us teachers to gather news about European education (although not so many of us do that!).

So, five or six years ago for the first time I heard about Professor Oerberg, methodus "natura" and his books, and this is the third year I am using that in classroom. Only three schools in Croatia (two in Zagreb) have permission to use Oerberg's books as experimental program.

I could write about my experience, only my English is so much worse than my Latin. Do you use Latin in communication?

Vale quam optime!


(I emailed back in Latin, and am awaiting Angela's reply)


From Richard Burrows, The Priory School, Lewes:

I was landed with this now thriving dept several years back - but as I have no Greek I get other staff to do it after I have persuaded them to take the GCSE! So I get good teachers, but they don't know much Greek. My latest is struggling with Ion. She gets help from a retired teacher, and I've downloaded the v useful questions on the text from the ARLT teachers website, but she would love to read a non-archaic translation of the thing.

Does anyone have one? (I imagine they will have written it themselves).

(I put this message on the blog when it came. It will probably be too late for Richard now, but it would be good to have such translations of set texts to put on the website.)


From Erica Malcolmson:

I did start up Classics in 1996 at LSU, where I’m part of the very supportive History Department. I only teach Class Civ at school and have large classes, usually around 18 students at A2 and 22 at AS. I also do a lot of Latin tutoring.

I’m not a new teacher so I do know about the Classics community and am active in promoting Classics - I’m Secretary of LACT and on the JACT Class Civ and Publicity Committees.


From Alex Nice:

I am currently teaching Classics at a liberal arts college in the US but have recently been offered a position at one of the European Schools in Brussels (Brussels II (Woluwe). Before I firmly commit, I have been doing some research into the state of Classics back in the homeland.

Hence signing up with ARLT and also trawling the JACT site where I discovered there has been a stay of execution for Ancient History A level. The idea that it might be abolished is abhorrent - without it I would never have become an academic nor a Latinist, nor indeed at this moment considering going back into high school to teach.

One of the attractions of the English education system (for me) is the very fact that it does have Classical Civilisation and Ancient History at the higher level, rather than a system like the US or South Africa which focus almost exclusively on the language.


From David Berger

Land O'Lakes High School

I stumbled across the posting about my "twilight Latin class" on your blog. We are still going strong for the second year in a row. I only have about ten students, but I am hoping to increase that next year. Thank you for sharing that newspaper article. I'm proud to say that we still study Latin!


From Danielle Fairey

I'm still at Cranbrook. Classical Civ has grown from 1 to 2 groups in years 12 and 13. Latin is still surviving but the new OCR spec is not good as it looks as though there will be no overlap of texts enabling me to teach upper and lower 6th together.


From Julia Murphy at Ysgol Tre-Gib:

Just a quick (!) overview of what I do...

I'm an English and history teacher at my comprehensive school, although I am a classics lover (currently taking a part-time MA in classics) and am trying to shoe-horn it into the existing curriculum wherever I can...!

I have started up a lunchtime Minimus Club this year, in the first instance for Gifted and Talented pupils, and next year I will be starting a new class open to all at KS3. The school does have a teacher who takes after-school Latin classes for those in Year 10 and 11 who want to take it for GCSE, but I see the Minimus Club as a way of drumming up enthusiasm in the lower school! It seems to have raised awareness if nothing else; last year no pupils elected to take Latin at GCSE, whereas this year there are currently nine who have signed up for it.

I also have responsibility for English at KS3 and am rewriting our schemes of work at the moment. I was lucky enough to be sent the "War with Troy" pack of CDs and teacher book, which we will be using with Year 7 as part of a new unit on Mythology, and have been investigating other ways that I can incorporate the ancient world into KS3 English! That's how I came across your informative website.

My dream is that we will be able to offer classical civilization somewhere along the line, although at the moment, what with budgets and all, I don't see it happening, especially as all those decisions happen far above my head! But I am determined to figure out a way...!