Knollmead Primary School is a one form entry school in Tolworth, with specialist resourced provisions for children who are deaf, and those with social communication needs, including autism. We have a high percentage of children with SEND, a proportion of disadvantaged children above the national average, and a high proportion of children with English as an additional language, and as such have developed a curriculum with vocabulary acquisition at the heart of it, and a culture of intrigue around words and their origins. It therefore felt quite natural to make the decision to change our languages offer in Key Stage 2 to Latin, as teachers would often explore the etymology of words, and look at and discuss Latin already. We had considered the idea of a Latin extracurricular club, but felt given the school context, it was important that this was offered to all children, and as such, 98 children benefit each week from Latin taught through the Minimus scheme.

We began our Latin training with Anna from Classics for All during the first lockdown of 2020, and what excellent training it was too, despite not being face to face (and before this had become the norm). Such was the keenness of staff to attend, teachers in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 joined the training in recognition of the transformative effect it could have as a central strand of the curriculum and on the children’s vocabulary development.

One term in, the children absolutely love their Latin lessons! They enjoy the historical and cultural links to other areas of the curriculum, and enjoy following the storyline of the family at Vindolanda, but the greatest impact so far of learning Latin has been the development of the children’s intrinsic motivation, curiosity about words, and the very positive impact on their vocabulary.

Knollmead Primary School, Tolworth, Surrey