The relief of actually being back in the classroom is only somewhat tempered by the possibility of another lock-down hanging over us like the sword of Damocles … And although the serried ranks of pupils facing forwards at individual desks when they can must be reassuringly familiar, there has been remarkably little disruption to the business being as usual as possible!  The children have settled into their learning with an impressive lack of fuss or excuse and have wanted to resume their studies with a calm sense of purpose.  New pupils, with diverse and differentiated needs, have settled into the fold in exactly the same way and embraced the necessity and point of studying Latin with joy and commitment.

In many ways the hardest part of learning Latin is starting it: its structure is so different from English and there is just so much Grammar, not to mention the language of the language itself!  All those parts of speech, Conjugations and Declensions can appear pretty daunting, not to mention that funny business of the Verb coming at the end of a sentence.  Some children are benefitting from a thorough revision of what they have already covered – in effect starting the course again.  Some more senior pupils, having revised and consolidated this, are moving on to ever more sophisticated Grammar and Syntax.  I venture to suggest that they find things easier as time goes on because they are adding things into an already established framework of reference; having learned the order and function of the Noun Cases for the First Declension, it is then much easier to slot the Second in mentally!

Year 8 is the luckiest because in their lessons the vehicles for their learning are the stories of the Trojan War for Level 2 and Odysseus’s return home for Level 3: more or less Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. Packed with pride and jealousy, violence and love, sacrifice and revenge – the stories, not the lessons – there is usually something for everyone to get their teeth into.

Sadly, because of the necessity of year group bubbling, we cannot run the Classics Club at present, but l look forward nonetheless to the children’s engagement and progress throughout the term.

Ed Gilsenan