Latin and Greek, together with mathematics, were the main subjects taught in this country for 500 years, and are an important part of our Western cultural heritage. They remain relevant to this day as the languages fundamental to many of the terms and concepts used in the sciences, the arts, architecture, medicine, mathematics, literature, philosophy and politics.

They equip the children, as no other subject can, with the language of language, providing an invaluable insight into the structure and common features of modern languages. English itself is rich in words and phrases deriving from these languages and study of the classics improves the children’s understanding of their own language and their spelling. The children can then apply the mechanics of language to any other language which they might wish to learn as they go forward.

After a preparatory Year 4, in which we explore classical myths, legends and the Roman world, Latin is formally introduced in Year 5. Children with particular facility also learn Classical Greek from Year 7. Where possible, those in the Scholarship class may take a GCSE in Latin before they leave The Elms.

Latin and Greek are difficult to learn and therefore rewarding when mastered. Winston Churchill said “Children should learn Latin as an honour and Greek as a treat.” Whilst not every child or parent would necessarily go that far, there is no doubt that these subjects, as well as the other benefits which they confer, increasingly represent a distinctive achievement which helps Elms children stand out. 

Sarah Austen, Head of Classics