“Standard English has been formed through the centuries by its contact with Latin; and without some knowledge of Latin an Englishman will always remain, to an extent, a stranger to his own culture.” John Marenbom – “English our English”
All pupils should be given a knowledge and awareness of the classical world,’ according to the Independent Schools Curriculum Committee. Eaton Square School believes that our pupils have a right to such knowledge, and that an understanding of classical language and civilisation lies at the heart of a sound and complete education. Pupils from Year Six to Year Eight have the opportunity to learn Latin.
Latin is compulsory for all children in Year Six and one lesson is taught per week. In order to ignite the children’s interest in all aspects of the classical world, the Autumn Term of Year Six is devoted to an exploration of Greek and Roman gods and mythology. A variety of enormously influential Greek and Roman myths are explored through a variety of techniques, including dramatic class performances. Classical mythology is an important section of the essay-based non-linguistic section of the 13+ Common Entrance paper, and this approach provides an invaluable introduction. In the Spring term, the children begin more formal instruction in the basics of Latin. The Children work from the first of a series of three text books, called Latin Practice Exercises.
In Year Seven the students start receiving formal Latin lessons twice a week. The curriculum is highly focussed, and it is taught in line with the Independent Schools Examinations Board Classics Syllabus. The students need to develop a high level of competence in translating from Latin into English and English into Latin, as well as in their manipulation of basic grammar. The content of the Year Seven curriculum is split into vocabulary, grammar and syntax.
In Year Eight the students continue to receive two formal Latin lessons each week. Since they are working towards the 13+ examination at the end of the year, all of the students are expected to maintain an independent approach to their study and to supplement their teacher-led classwork and homework with their own programme of learning and revision. Time is spent developing effective examination skills, such as time management and ways of maximising known information in order to gain as many marks as possible.
In the Autumn Term, Year Six are given a manageable amount of homework, involving further exploration of the particular myth we are working on. This is given on a weekly basis. In the Spring and Summer Terms, the children will be expected to complete vocabulary learning, grammar consolidation and some translation tasks.
In Year Seven and Eight the pupils are given one formal homework task, of approximately 30 minutes, each week. This usually involves practising a skill that has been introduced in class, but may sometimes require independent study.
In addition to formal homework, pupils are expected to develop and to maintain an independent programme of study and revision in order to consolidate and commit to memory the high volume of grammar and vocabulary that are required for the Common Entrance examination. Children in all year groups are formally assessed at the end of each half term.