Latin is an important part of the pupils’ education at Spratton Hall, with children studying both the Latin language and the Ancient Greek Myths. Beginning in Year 6 with one period per week, children investigate the Olympian Gods, study the famous stories of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and start to get to grips with the basics of the Latin language. Some guided prep is introduced halfway through the year to link one week to the next. More in-depth study is possible in Years 7 & 8 with three periods (and a prep) per week, as the Common Entrance syllabus is tackled using our own bespoke Spratton Latin Course books. The Greek Myths continue to be studied alongside the Latin, giving the children an appreciation of stories that have influenced literature, and captured imaginations, for centuries.
The majority of Spratton pupils are entered for the Common Entrance Level 1 paper, with a few of the more able pupils attempting Level 2 or even Scholarship. Whilst exam success at the end of Year 8 is the initial goal, our main aim is to give the pupils a really solid linguistic foundation, along with a real enthusiasm for all things Greek and Roman, so that they want to continue with Classical subjects at Senior School.
Quite apart from examinations, broad educational benefit is derived from the study of Latin. It provides a framework in which the grammar of any language, including English, is better understood; it improves knowledge of English vocabulary and facilitates the study of other European languages; and it is widely acknowledged as one of the best “brain-trainers” around, teaching children to think logically, to see patterns and to focus on detail.
All this said, it is a misconception that Latin is only for “clever kids”: one great benefit of the study of Latin at Spratton Hall is that it provides a chance for every pupil, regardless of ability, to have a positive experience and sense of achievement in an allegedly difficult subject. Personal experience confirms that many children, including those with learning difficulties, enjoy Latin and can do very well. It does of course require some hard work along the way, but that, after all, is what we are here for (at least some of the time!).
Vocabulary and sets of endings are still part of the subject, but learning is very much more “active” and varied than it used to be: card games, self-test exercises, computer quizzes, speed contests, reinforcement games, revision CDs, our own testing website – all these help children to become independent learners and ensure that Spratton Latin is anything but old-fashioned.