This week’s message (Friday 02 July 2021)

Friday 02 July 2021

Salve!

This week’s message begins with the Latin word for ‘hello’, because we’ve some news about a change to our curriculum next year…

From September, children in Key Stage 2 (Years 3-6) will learn Latin as the Foreign Language part of the National Curriculum. This might come as a bit of a surprise to some of you, with many wondering why switch to an ancient language. Here, we present three reasons, but there are plenty of others.

Learning some Latin will support learning other languages in the future. About 80% of words in Romance languages such as French, Spanish and Italian come from Latin. The Latin for ‘bread‘ is ‘panem‘. Learning this means your child should more easily recognise and remember the word for bread in French (pain), Spanish (pan) or Italian (pane).

Linked to this is what your child will learn when they move to secondary school. In Year 7, your child might learn French, or Spanish, or German… in most cases, there won’t be much choice, and different secondary schools offer different languages for Year 7 students. Latin provides a really useful basis to learn other languages. (And most secondary schools start from scratch anyway, so Latin will be a good grounding.)

A third reason is that learning some Latin will help to enhance your child’s understanding in English, too. About two thirds of English words are derived from Latin, so your child will be more confident when they come across a new word in English if they can recognise parts of it. Here’s an example. The Latin word for ‘father’ is ‘pater‘, which gives us lots of English words, such as paternal, patronise and patriarchy. ‘Mother’ is ‘mater‘ – what words derive from ‘mater‘?

We’ve spoken to a few parents about this already, and the reaction has been really positive. If you’d like to find out more, we’re hosting a live Zoom discussion next week: 6pm on Thursday 08 July (we’ve deliberately avoided Wednesday in anticipation of some important event that night – it’s coming home…!). If you’d like to attend, please contact stjamesoffice@spherefederation.org

Finally this week, a big thank you to all of you who completed this year’s annual survey. We’ll spend some time over the next few weeks looking at the results, and we’ll update you later in the year.

Quia nunc vale!