Going the extra mile: Learning Latin with top results!


Zoe Von Pfefer, Addey and Stanhope School

Zoe teaches French at Addey and Stanhope School in Lewisham, and when the Latin teacher left the school with nobody available to take over, Zoe volunteered to keep the subject going and found herself with two KS4 classes and no knowledge of Latin.

As a PTI Schools Programme member, Zoe understands the importance of good subject knowledge, so she signed up to a Cambridge Latin course and spent over 100 hours of her free time learning the language at the weekend in order to teach the subject straight back in school the next week.

“The weekends were engaging, providing opportunities to meet leading academics, learn about Roman history and develop a deeper understanding of languages. I often think it is a shame that after university we often stop learning about new "academic" subjects.

"Through these courses I learnt about Egypt under the Roman Empire, food and how archaeologists found out what was eaten, the reality of slavery in the Roman Empire and the roles of women in society. I was always excited to retell all of this to my students and try to arrange for some of these academics to come to my school and present their research.”

"The biggest advantage of learning Latin for me is that it gave me a new perspective on how to teach grammar (the imperfect vs perfect tense is no longer an issue) and how to combine both explicit grammar lessons and intuitive translation techniques. The advantages of teaching a language through a story are immeasurable and I have tried to increase the amount of poetry and authentic texts used throughout the MFL curriculum. There are now more MFL books in the library, which students, not only the most able, actually read!"

All her extra work has shone through in the results too, with many achieving top grades in Latin: Out of 5 Year 11 students, 2 achieved A* and 2 achieved a B in their GCSE. In Year 10 (level 1) there were 3 A*s, 2As, 2Bs and 1C.


Cecilia Wylde, Addey and Stanhope School

Latin has continued to be a success and last year Cecilia Wylde, our EAL Co-ordinator, agreed to spend time learning Latin and support Latin lessons in order to take over the Latin classes. She has done incredibly well and has taken the current year 11s on a very successful journey.

Unfortunately, due to specification changes, the WJEC Latin level 2 exam no longer counts as a GCSE and requirements for Latin GCSE have increased so much so in difficulty that we have been unable to offer it as a 2-year course. 

However, Cecilia has kept Latin alive by running two Latin clubs. One for Year 7 and 8 students and one for Year 10 students. We are hoping that WJEC keep their level 1 and level 2 qualifications running as we will continue to ask students to sit these exams in order for them to have a qualification which will be of value to them.