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When a recent American visitor to the Latin Department was asked ‘On a scale of one to ten, how fortunate do you think our students are to have Ancient Rome in evidence all around them?’ he answered ‘Eleven.’ American Visitor to the College

The Latin Department is a living, breathing part of Roman History. The College is located on the actual site of ancient Roman Verulamium, and is lucky enough to have a world-renowned archaeological treasure on its doorstep. The Department loves to mix the ancient and the modern – the students are supported by the excellent CD-ROM online Cambridge Latin Course, so Caecilius comes to life in front of them, speaking Latin and moving around a computer-reconstructed villa. At the same time, there is even a museum in the Latin Room, filled with genuine Roman artefacts excavated when the College buildings were established. The College is a short walk from Verulamium Museum, home to some of the most impressive mosaics anywhere in the world, and enjoys a close relationship with the staff there.

At KS3, the students learn about Pompeii and the Roman world in general by following the Cambridge Latin Course. The students learn how to apply the sophisticated rules of Latin grammar, and this greatly enhances their English vocabulary, their European language skills, and their understanding of language structures in general.

For OCR GCSE, students study Virgil’s mythology, Julius Caesar's account of the Celtic druids  and the history, politics, literature and art of Ancient Rome in greater depth. There is also a strong focus on grammatical rigour in order to excel in the GCSE translation and comprehension papers.

For OCR A level, students take their grammatical skills to a very high level, and expand their knowledge with research and secondary reading. The Department leaves no stone unturned, fleshing out all the important conflicts and myths to bring the students to the deepest and broadest possible understanding of the Ancient World. 

The most enthusiastic and able students also study Ancient Greek as an after school club, and the learning about Caecilius culminates in a biannual trip to Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius. 

In the Latin Department at St Columba’s College, students are tomb raiders and language analysts at the same time. The Department brings the glory and mystery of the Ancient World to life and encourages every student to find his own ‘Indiana Jones moment’.