Sheffield school embarks on teaching Latin to pupils to understand language better

Latin, once thought to be a dead language, has been given new life after a Sheffield school adapted it to assist students improve their word knowledge.

Thursday, 5th May 2022, 12:46 pm

Woodlands Primary School has become one of few schools in Sheffield that use it to better their language comprehension as many of the terms used today have their origins in the vocabulary that Roman centurions would have used on a daily basis.

Assistant Headteacher Sarah Bustamante, who spearheads the project, said the school is embarking on teaching Latin to all Key Stage 2 children from September for 30 minutes a week.

She said: "We chose Latin because 60 per cent of the English language is made up of word roots that came from Ancient Greek and Latin.

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Woodlands Primary School is teaching Latin to its KS2 pupils from September.

"So for us, it is kind of strengthening deep words of meaning to help children in primary school so it is our job to prepare them for life beyond primary, which is secondary and possibly an academic future.

"Having that deep understanding of word knowledge and history of words could help them during secondary school.

"They come across more technical words in science and history, as well as Latin roots, to encourage children to strive beyond our school. We feel that this would give them a strong basis."

She said the school is now at a trial phase where it is taught to Year Five children to see how successful it is.

Mrs Bustamante said: "So far our children really love it, they really engage with it and we know that children are natural pattern seekers and problem solvers.

"We really are proud of our curriculum where we teach history, geography and the ancient civilisation, ancient Greek, ancient Rome and also the history of the British Isles and how our language and our culture was shaped by people from other countries.

"When children learn about these words, they are also learning about the history of the words."

She said the school is also working closely with Arbourthorne Community Primary School and High Storrs School, which also teach Latin to its pupils, as a way to support each other.

Year 5 student, Ethan, said: "I think learning Latin is cool, I learnt that without Latin we wouldn't have a language containing the vocabulary we have today."