Interest in Classical civilisation and languages is growing in the state sector, with many primary schools teaching Ancient Greece and Rome as topics. Although Latin is included as part of the Modern Foreign Languages curriculum as a Key Stage 2 language, there is no tried and tested or practical route for introducing it in a primary classroom, and many Teachers do not have a secure subject knowledge of it. In response to this, Charlie Andrews developed Classics Club Junior for her school, the Greig City Academy.
The project gives pupils from Years 4 – 6 the opportunity to learn foundation Latin, and discover the highlights of Classical culture. Starting off in three North London schools, Charlie applied to the London Teachers Innovation Fund to roll Classics Club Junior out to more schools. Schools’ appetites for teaching Latin and Classics in the primary classroom is strong, with the three schools Charlie approached to participate in the piloting of Classics Club Junior eager to commit staff and timetable slots.
There is currently very little teaching in the Primary Latin sector, which Charlie aims to change by addressing three issues; the shortage of specialist Teachers, the cost of primary Modern Foreign Languages provision, and the lack of a course that fits with the modern Key Stage 2 curriculum. The project will train Teachers to be confident in language and delivery of the sessions, which will solve the problem of cost as the school will not have to hire an external specialist to teach Classics. The Classics Club Junior programme is written with the modern curriculum in mind, aiming to enrich students’ English skills as well as their Classical knowledge. Charlie will focus particularly on this last point, with strong evidence suggesting that the learning of a Classical language is a good medium for learning literacy skills.
Charlie is using her grant to evaluate and test the effectiveness of the course on pupil attainment, and levels of Teacher confidence and subject knowledge. She is also using it to develop the project from taking place over one term to three. Developing the course offers a richer learning experience for both Teacher and pupils, but would also usefully offer a year’s Modern Foreign Languages provision.
The London Teachers Innovation Fund is part of SHINE’s Teacher-led Innovation, which you can find out more about here.