Pupils Rome through history as ancient mouse leads the way

Headteacher Lynne Brookes with pupils Oscar Elliott Selkirk, Ruben Moss, Ella Paul, Elle Taylor and Poppy Rawlings.
Headteacher Lynne Brookes with pupils Oscar Elliott Selkirk, Ruben Moss, Ella Paul, Elle Taylor and Poppy Rawlings.

CHILDREN at a north Northumberland school will soon know their ‘veni, vidi, vici’ from their ‘status quo’.

Thanks to a grant from the organisation Friends of Classics, the pupils at St Mary’s C of E Middle School in Belford are now studying Latin as part of their foreign languages curriculum.

Head teacher Lynne Brookes said: “The course we are using is called Minimus.

“Minimus is a little mouse who lives in the villa of Flavius Cerialis, the commander of the Roman fort at Vindolanda.

“This was a real Roman home at what is now Bardon Mill, near Hexham, and there is a museum on the site, which we will be visiting later in the year.”

While Latin is not taught commonly in schools these days, the Minimus course was created for younger children.

“The course is especially designed for children in this age group, and provides a lively introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain,” said Mrs Brookes.

“We will learn basic grammar and Latin vocabulary through stories of the Cerialis family, and also a great deal of background information on Roman life and customs.

“Adding to the children’s general knowledge, we will also read traditional stories and myths from the classical world”.

Some critics refer to Latin as a dead language but the roots of many modern languages including English are to be found in its vocabulary and grammar.

Mrs Brookes said: “Over half of the words that we use in the English language are based on Latin and the same applies to many other European languages so we feel that this course will give them a great grounding with the emphasis being on fun and enjoyment of language learning.”