Classics for All volunteer Ed Pyman interviews a student at Greig City Academy

My name is Ed and I’m volunteering with Classics for All before I go to study Classics at Cambridge. On 8th June, I visited Greig City Academy and had the chance to interview Adrian, a multilingual Year 9 student from Romania, about the value of learning Latin and studying classical culture more broadly.

Adrian was introduced to Latin by Charlie Andrew through her Classics Club at the school and is now working towards his Latin GCSE. He said he was originally drawn to Classics Club because he is “interested in the past and how so many languages come from Latin”. We went on to discuss the legacy of the ancient world – he is interested in classical architecture, the effects of which we agreed are so ubiquitous now as to be almost imperceptible, and he expressed his admiration for the way in which “so many ancient buildings still stand today, so many years later”.

Adrian also told me about how much he had enjoyed learning about war in the ancient world, “particularly Boudicca”, and the training and battle tactics that produced such unparalleled armies and campaigns.

There is also, he said, something rewarding about Latin grammar: not only is it undeniably satisfying to get it right after the necessary hard work but it also, he continued, “helped with English and Spanish more than anything in other subjects”.

I asked whether the attitude of his friends towards Latin were broadly positive or negative: he explained that some were initially ambivalent about the value of studying a classical language where lesson time might arguably be better spent on core subjects. (You have to miss an admittedly very small number of lessons in other subjects to study Latin at Greig City Academy until it is timetabled in Year 10.) He did imply, however, that attitudes are changing as more and more students recognise both the utility of Latin when it comes to other subjects and its intrinsic value.

Either way, this class is being inspirationally taught by Charlie Andrew and their results, in other subjects as well as Latin, will I’m sure speak for themselves.