Latin is taught to Common Entrance and Public School Scholarship standard, and virtually all children in the school from Year 5 upwards learn the language.
The Latin Common Entrance paper incorporates three different levels ranging from the simplest to the relatively advanced, thus catering not only for those who have reached a high standard by the time they leave Cheam but also for those who have only studied Latin for a short time or find the subject difficult.
We place great importance on instilling a proper understanding of grammar and syntax so that this can lead to accurate comprehension and translation, but the principal Greek myths and many aspects of Roman Life and Civilisation are also included in the syllabus.
"So you really want to learn LATIN PREP” by Theo Zinn is the course we use to introduce the language to Years 5 and 6, where grammar is introduced at a sensible pace and continually reinforced by a variety of linguistic exercises as well as by a series of entertaining stories from Greek Mythology and Roman History. The children learn vocabulary from the earliest stages and are encouraged to notice the links with modern languages such as English and French. By Year 7 Nicholas Oulton’s “So you really want to learn Latin” is also being used, while in Year 8 the emphasis is very much on putting what has been learnt into practice by tackling past Scholarship and Common Entrance papers. Appropriate ICT software is also used to back up the learning process.
Annual visits to Roman sites including Verulamium and Caerleon are arranged. To encourage accurate pronunciation and greater familiarity with the language a Latin Reading Competition is also held every year, with each child in Years 5, 6 and 7 taking part.
The better linguists start learning Greek in Year 7 and reach a high enough standard by the end of Year 8 to tackle the simplest level of a Common Entrance or Scholarship paper. The books we use include “Greek for Beginners” by L.A.Wilding, “Greek – A New Guide for Beginners” by Kristian Waite and “Athenaze” by Maurice Balme and Gilbert Lawall. There is also a Greek Handwriting Competition.