Classics teachers are perennially aware of the competing drives of an extremely challenging GCSE course, and the necessity to recruit as broadly as possible. Creating an excitement and buzz around Latin for students who don’t see themselves as the academic elite is the focus of this course.

Speaking from the perspective of a school that has managed to get more than half of the mixed-ability year group to opt in to Latin, this course will present strategies, resources and techniques to latch onto students’ enthusiasm, build their confidence without sacrificing academic rigour or ambition. Getting the mix of fun, excitement, cultural exploration and the linguistic foundations necessary for GCSE Latin is a real challenge – but when it’s right, it makes a huge difference to recruitment and student outcomes across the board.   


  • Take away practical templates to raise attainment of weaker GCSE students
  • Increase recruitment and retention from KS3 to GCSE, and GCSE to sixth-form
  • Get practical strategies, ideas and inspiration to change the narrative around Latin from an elite subject for the few, to a fun subject.


DATE & LOCATION London | Tuesday 18 January 2022
  • Heads of department
  • All teachers of Classics
  • Teachers looking to build their numbers taking Latin
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00 – 11.00am: Giving confidence to weaker pupils to raise performance

Confidence, rather than ability, is often the hurdle that weaker students often struggle to get over: this session will explore different approaches to try to build confidence in these weaker pupils, and how to create a positive, motivated vibe in a classroom.

Strategies discussed will cover:

  • Design and approach to assessment and testing;
  • Effective use of metacognitive strategies and the benefits of setting aside deliberate time for metacognitive discussion;
  • approaches to language-learning and scheme-of-work design to build motivation.


11.00 – 11.30am: Break


11:30 – 12.30pm: Key practical strategies and classroom activities for weaker pupils

This session will focus in on the key areas that students find most discouraging and that often lead to ‘switch-off’/ ‘this subject is too hard’ moments in the classroom:

  • Recognition and effective use of endings
  • Clarity of distinction between different parts of speech
  • Latinate structures (word order and participle use)

What all of these have in common is ‘cognitive overload’ – pupils feeling overwhelming at having to deal with too many moving parts at once. We will look at

  • Building vocabulary as a primary strategy to decrease stress (and as the most important element in GCSE language success), and to isolate other parts of language learning;
  • How to build grammatical skills using English in KS3 and into KS4;
  • Practical classroom activities which most motivate and engage students (including how to use Quizlet, Kahoot!, and other online tools really well).


1:30-2:15pm: Building Blocks at KS3: planning for recruitment, enjoyment, and academic success.

KS3 curriculum and planning often takes a back-seat to externally-assessed groups: this is where the stage is set for recruitment, however, and where we win or lose the numbers that make our subject viable. What does a successful KS3 curriculum look like, and how can you assess its success with your students? This session will look at:

  • The balance of cultural material and linguistic work: so often students come in with a huge amount of enthusiasm for the Classical world – often myths and legends – that goes unnourished;
  • Different textbook options and how they can be used effectively (de Romanis? Taylor? CLC?): there is no magic bullet, but with a clear focus on exactly what we want to students to have at the start of KS4, it’s easier to get the best out of what you use;
  • How to build assessment schemes to create a positive buzz around Latin.

2:15-3:00pm: Discussion and sharing of best practice and new ideas/coffee break.


3:00 – 3:45pm: Demonstrating the impact of Classics learning       

Creating a culture of achievement, confidence, and enthusiasm is a challenge in itself: it’s an additional challenge to sell this to SLTs, parents, and prospective students. The session will cover:

  • Designing and using effective student feedback forms;
  • Sharing strategies and arguments for recruitment and retention;
  • What data can be used to demonstrate value and success.

3.45: Depart

Stuart Thomson

Stuart Thomson is the Head of Classics and Assistant Chaplain at Christ’s Hospital, the UK’s leading charitable boarding school: the student body is more than 50% BAME, and almost 75% are funded by the school’s extensive bursary programme. Classics thrives in this diverse student body: numbers for KS4 Latin have gone up from the high twenties to the low 50s over the last 3 years (out of a year group of roughly 100). Before going into teaching, Stuart read for his doctorate in Classis at Oxford, and is an author for Bloomsbury, producing the set text guide for the current A Level Apuleius text, and is currently writing the guide for the upcoming A Level Plato text.