AN inner-city school is making its own history by becoming one of the few state schools in Wales to offer Latin lessons.
Fitzalan High School in Cardiff is offering the ancient Roman language to Year 7 pupils. And already it is proving popular with 30 students volunteering to give up their lunchtimes to take the lessons.
Latin was at risk of disappearing from the curriculum a decade ago but it is now enjoying a revival. And the launch of the lessons in Fitzalan in Leckwith was prompted by a grant from the Friends of the Classics organisation to pay for books.
The class is following the Cambridge Latin Course, which includes learning about the history and culture of Romans as well as studying the language itself.
Teacher Ed Johns, who is running the course, said: “Fitzalan is now one of the only state schools in Cardiff to offer Latin and one of only eight secondary schools across Wales to offer the subject.
“We are one of a growing number of schools across the UK to realise the benefits of studying a subject which a decade ago looked set to disappear from the curriculum altogether.
“Latin is a very beautiful language, which is probably the main reason for wanting to give the pupils here an opportunity to enjoy it. It is also very useful for such professions as law, medicine, fictional or technical writing and even business.
“Latin provides around 60% of all English words and 90% of words over two syllables. It helps to develop and expand your vocabulary, and can help to improve confidence. Since Roman culture is the foundation of European civilisation it also helps in the understanding of, amongst others, French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian.”
He added: “Latin has traditionally been the preserve of the privileged, and this is a fabulous chance to open up this wonderful subject to people from all backgrounds.”