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Year 8 marks the point at which students at The John Lyon School currently start their exploration of the Classics, the ancient cultures of Greece and Rome that lie at the heart of Western civilisation. Each student therefore spends at least one year enjoying a rigorous introduction to Latin language and Roman civilisation, studying Book I of the well-known Cambridge Latin Course. An elementary grasp of the Latin language is taught over two lessons each week, while Roman civilisation is explored through the fascinating world revealed in the buried cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum (the many topics studied include daily life, food and drink, the theatre, slaves and freedmen, death and the afterlife, gladiators, the baths, schools and education, elections and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius).

From the very start, therefore, good foundations are therefore laid for students’ future study of Classical languages, or Classical Civilisation, or both! Latin forms a foundation to the modern English language, providing valuable linguistic insights to students as a result. Moreover, both French and Spanish (the modern languages currently offered at JLS) are both directly descended from Latin. Western civilisation, of course, was shaped predominately by the Greeks and the Romans – our study of Ancient Rome in Year 8 aids students’ appreciation of this vital part of our European heritage.

Together with modern languages, Latin forms an early elective from Year 9 at The John Lyon School; students opting to continue with the subject build upon the firm foundation established in Year 8 to develop a more detailed and sophisticated understanding of Latin language and Roman period civilisation.

Year 9 Latin allows students to explore Book II of the Cambridge Latin Course with rigour and extended learning, facilitating invaluable preparation towards GCSE Level studies in the subject. The study of Roman Britain allows students unique insights into the ancient heritage of Britain, while our examination of Roman period Egypt provides more diverse opportunities and enhanced variety of content.

Latin forms a highly-respected and challenging subject at Key Stage 4, students at The John Lyon School extending and perfecting their skills and knowledge over two years towards the OCR GCSE in Latin. Year 10 students primarily utilise Books III and IV of the Cambridge Latin Course, developing a sophisticated grasp of intermediate language, while returning to Roman Britain as a cultural backdrop and finishing in Imperial Rome. Year 11 will emphasise preparation for examination in authentic set texts. Authors regularly studied include Cicero, Livy and Pliny for Prose; with regard to Verse, we usually focus on a secion of Virgil’s Aeneid.

A-Level studies in Latin have come on stream in recent years, with students achieving no little success in achieving the top grades. AS Latin expands students’ GCSE level language, while exploring the writings of Ovid and Cicero. A2 Latin draws multiple threads together, encouraging students to emerge as versatile Latinists by means of studying authors such as Livy, Tacitus, Virgil and Ovid. A-Level studies in Latin are comparable in challenge to subjects like Further Maths and are relished by students who value logic and precision, while also savour written flair and flexibility.