Latin was taught at Calday from 1665 until about 2014, when it was suppressed to make way for more modern subjects. Ancient Greek was not taught for 30 years until re-introduced as an after-school subject in 2000 by Mr Byrne, and then it continued as an extra until both it and Latin were scrapped. When Mr Roberts retired after 30 years, Mr Byrne took over Latin full time, and continued for 6 years until he too retired.
For the last 2 years Mr Byrne has been running extra Latin lessons after school as a fun addition to our curriculum. 12 pupils started, from all years, and 4 in Year 13 and 1 in Year 9 went on towards GCSE. One of those who started Latin in the group 2 years ago is now reading Classics at Oriel College, Oxford.
In addition, we have a group of 13 parents – numbers continue to increase! – who meet for an hour from 5.45 on a Tuesday evening, and in the last few months, 12 pupils from Years 7 & 8 have begun lessons during Form/Break time, and they are enjoying it.
The purpose of these lessons is to enrich our pupils’ experience. Although people think that Latin is necessary for Medicine or Law, this is no longer the case – although a former pupil, now Dr Archie, said that it gave him a head start in anatomy. However, Latin is very useful as an adjunct to, or preparation for, the study of Modern Languages. It also helps with English grammar, and is a very real help in instilling logical thought in young minds. A research project among the gangs of New York found that underprivileged children who did Latin made significant progress in other school subjects.
From September 2023 we will have another session for Year 7 pupils on a Friday from 10.40 to 11.30 and a class for all Year 9 and above on a Monday after school, from 15.20 to 16.20
Mr Byrne did Classics and French at school but read Modern and Medieval Languages at King’s College, Cambridge. He speaks 8 languages, and can attest to the usefulness of Latin now!
Mr Gray kindly subsidises all these lessons, so there is no cost to any of our students/parents.