The teaching of Latin has changed dramatically in recent years. For many of us, our only memory of Latin is chanting amo, amas, amat etc or wading through musty old copies of Caesar’s Gallic Wars.

Here at St. Martin’s we stress the benefits of learning Latin. We aim to show that far from being a dead language Latin has actually contributed more to the English language than any other language. Not only that, we believe that Latin has something to offer every boy regardless of ability because it is not just a language. We study the wonderful Greek myths which have fascinated children for years and also Roman life, enabling the boys to see how much our own civilisation has been influenced by the ancient world. Latin is a varied and interesting subject and in this day and age when everyone studies mostly the same National Curriculum subjects, Latin is a chance to do something different.

Every boy at St. Martin’s has the privilege of learning Latin, regardless of their ability. They begin in Year 5 and continue until they leave in Year 8. From Year 7 two sets follow the Common Entrance syllabus in preparation for 13+ external examinations, and there is a third set which does not work towards an external examination. In this set the language work is less demanding and is complemented by the study of life in Pompeii before the eruption of Vesuvius.

It is our aim that whatever level they reach, every boy will leave St. Martin’s with an interest in the Classical world and with a firm foundation in a language whose benefits will remain with them for the rest of their lives.