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Latin in London

We joined together with Arbourthorne Community Primary School for a day out in London on March 25th, expanding their horizons by exploring the wealth of culture, history and knowledge relating to the subject of Classics that our capital has to offer.

This trip concludes our Latin Partnership Programme launched in 2016 with Arbourthorne and Gleadless Primary Schools. By learning Latin, primary school pupils were exposed to increasingly advanced vocabulary and words of cultural significance, and as a result saw improvements in writing ability by using their talent for Latin to deduce the meaning of words based on context. Learning the basics of Latin opened up a new world of more complex English vocabulary that the children could understand and use.

Visiting London was a chance to understand everything the children have been learning in Latin in a setting beyond the classroom. The main event of the day was a trip to the famous British Museum, which houses a wealth of objects relating to classical history, bringing the subject to life.

17 Year 5 and 6 pupils from Arbourthorne saw presentations from eight of our Year 8 girls with a passion for Latin, who explained their research on key artefacts during a tour of the museum: they covered pieces of classical history including the Rosetta Stone, a tablet inscribed with Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, as well as sculptures from the Greek Parthenon temple, the Vindolanda tablets and more. The dedicated Year 8 pupils had also prepared their own engaging activities for the children like word searches and the task of ‘drawing their own pottery designs’.

For lunch, everyone visited the towering offices of the Girls Day School Trust and were treated to a meal with a view over the city. The GDST’s Sky Garden was a particular favourite of the children, with its stunning views of Buckingham Palace and the iconic River Thames.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying the classic landmarks of London. Pupils saw the ‘Platform 9 and three quarters’ at Kings Cross Station as a reference to the Harry Potter franchise, as well as an adrenaline-filled ride down the river in a speedboat to see The Shard, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge.

Pupil Eleanor said, "This was by far the best school trip I've ever been on! The boat ride was an incredible experience and the museum was highly interesting."

"I really liked talking to the primary school children about the artefacts and making booklets for them to use," said Grace.

Head of Classics Mrs Burne said, “It was such a pleasure to see students of different ages and experiences coming together to share a mutual enjoyment of the classical world.  Students from Sheffield Girls' were fantastic role models for the younger children. They were our guides in the museum, sharing their knowledge and research and creating fabulous resources for the Arbourthorne students; they made me very proud indeed.”

We were fortunate enough to organise this trip with part of the funding from the generous legacy of Eileen Stamper, who was one of Sheffield Girls’ most beloved Classics teachers. Mrs Gardner, Head of External Relations and one of the members of staff on the trip, said, “Eileen had a real passion for her subject and loved to see young people enthused about the stories and history around Latin and the Classics.”

“She would have been delighted that the pupils from both Arbourthorne and Sheffield Girls’ had the opportunity to see first-hand at the British Museum the artefacts that they have been studying.”

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