When in Rome – the Blackpool pupils lapping up Latin lessons

Blackpool children are breathing life into a dead language – and finding talking like an ancient Roman can help them with their English studies.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 3:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:23 pm

Latin has not been used as a living language since the fall of the Roman empire, but its words and influence can still be heard everywhere, from science and medicine to courtroom law and even Harry Potter’s spells.

Now children at Unity Academy are using it to develop their understanding of English, where many words we use today have their roots in the words that Roman centurions would have used every day.

The children in their first two years of high school get a chance to have a go at the language traditionally only taught in posh public schools and some grammars.

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Pupils at Unity Academy are learning to speak Latin. Pictured is literacy interventions assistant Natasha Bennett.

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Estelle Bellamy, the lead teacher at Fylde Coast Academy Trust for English, said: "We are delivering Latin lessons for all of the children in years 7 and 8 which equates to about 250 and 60 in year 6.

"These lessons take place every other week and support our English Curriculum in KS3. This offers a wider knowledge of language to use across all their subjects.

"We feel as a department that it opens the minds of children to a fabulous opportunity to promote confidence in etymology, and an understanding of the origin of many of our words today.

Pupils at Unity Academy are learning to speak Latin. Pictured is Paige Felton with Arvi Toth.

"The children have loved developing oracy skills by communicating in Latin in the classroom, and learning about the history associated with the language.

"It is fabulous to see their confidence grow as they link words and decode new vocabulary through their knowledge of a classical language".

Pete Wright from Classics for All, a charity which encourages the teaching of classical subjects, Latin and Greek in state schools, said: "The team at Unity are doing a fantastic job - I really love how they are using Latin with whole year groups ensuring all students have the benefit of a classical education".

Connie Whitehead, Head of English said: "We were excited to join the project as it complements our ambitious curriculum which takes students on a journey using texts from the ancient world right up to the present day" .

Year 7 and 8 pupils at Unity Academy have Latin every other week. Pictured is literacy interventions assistant Natasha Bennett.
Deputy headteacher Beth Latham and literacy interventions assistant Natasha Bennett with pupils Arvi Toth, 11, and Ruby Chambers, 9 and some of the Roman items they have been working on in class.