Medway Community Primary School is a large Leicestershire primary school with 658 pupils on roll and an Ofsted ranking of Good. Over 90% of pupils speak English as an Additional Language and many have only recently arrived in the UK. Given the range of home languages spoken by pupils at the school, the Senior Leadership Team felt that the introduction of Latin at Key Stage 2 would help to support pupils’ English language acquisition more effectively than the French that had been taught previously.

In October 2018, 26 Year 5 pupils were introduced to Latin, via the Minimus course. Staff receiving free training from Classics for All and textbooks were provided thanks to a grant from the Primary Latin Project. Following the success of this pilot, all 60 Year 5 pupils were following the Minimus course by the end of the year.

The enthusiasm which the introduction of Latin generated then prompted the school to expand its classics provision even further. In September 2019, three members of staff received training from Classics for All in Ancient Greek and all 90 Year 4 pupils are now learning Ancient Greek using our new Basil Batrakhos course. Alongside their language studies, Year 4 have also been studying Homer’s Iliad and have successfully completed Classics for All’s new Olympus Challenge award.

“The children in year 4 embraced the challenge of reading and analysing the Iliad this year in English. They not only embraced the challenge but completely fell in love with the text, pushing the teachers to provide experiences for the children which would extend and deepen their understanding of the text. Alongside studying the Iliad, the children had a comprehensive study of ancient Greek art, history, culture, politics, philosophy and mythology which sparked an interest in the classics which lead to many of the children wanting to carry out independent research in their free time.” (Year 4 teacher, Medway Community Primary School)

An additional element of Medway’s classics programme is the Word Roots work that they have developed in collaboration with Charlie Andrew, CfA’s Training and Resources Manager. In an effort to support pupils' English language acquisition, those in Years 3 and 4 now have a short daily lesson about a Latin or Classical Greek root word. The lessons focus on one root word per week and there are five activities each week to support the children's knowledge and retention of that week's root word. Expected benefits of this programme include improved reading comprehension, particularly when encountering new or unknown words, and use of a richer and more diverse vocabulary both in speaking and in writing.

The scope of Medway’s classics programme is truly ambitious and we are delighted to be supporting such an exciting project. More information about the school’s classics curriculum can be found here.