36th JACT Latin Summer School, Wells Cathedral School
Directors: David Stephenson and Alex Boyt
‘My time at Wells will certainly help me during my second year of A-Levels but more importantly it has increased my passion and interest regarding Classics not only as a subject but as a culture. I am extremely grateful for being able to attend the JACT Latin Summer School and take part what has been an unforgettable experience.’ (Yousuf Ali, 17)
The 36th Latin summer school once again took place at Wells Cathedral School, Somerset. This year 113 students attended the two week course, making us the sixth biggest ever. Our traditional spread of ages continued, with the youngest being 15 and the oldest being 84! This year 4% of students came from overseas, lower than in previous years. However, 34% of our school age students were from the state sector, an increase from last year. We continue to offer as much financial support as we can, with 11 bursaries being given in 2016 worth over £3000. Mature students studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level made up 13% of the student body, making nearly a quarter of students over 18. It is important to us that we offer a course which caters both for those with specific academic goals and also those with a more general interest.
‘The funding enabled me to attend Latin camp, which has been invaluable for me…I feel that it has greatly improved various aspects of my knowledge of the ancient world. I quadrupled the amount of texts I have covered, including texts I will need to know in order to teach the A level course.’ (Rachel Hopley, 22)
- Staff and teaching
As always the success of the Latin Summer School is reliant on the quality of its tutors and we are very fortunate to have an established team willing to give up two weeks of their summer for a ‘busman’s holiday’. Joining us once again were Lindsey Cullen, Clemmie Faulkner, Will Ford, Laura Hill, Katie Lathan, Rhiannon Litterick, David Moyes, Charlie Paterson, and Olivia Upchurch. Ed Evans joined us again as our assistant, making sure that the we were well-supplied with biscuits and photocopying, as well as delivering the all-important copy of the Sun, so that we could enjoy the horoscopes during morning break.
‘Latin camp has been a wonderful experience. It has been invaluable in helping me to decide on my course of university study. I have also made many new friends with whom I will certainly keep in touch. In addition, my Latin has improved beyond measure – I can now confidently translate authors such as Ovid, with the help of a dictionary. Latin camp has also been useful for my extended project qualification (EPQ), giving me some new ideas: my question is “Should literature be read in its original language?”, and studying Latin literature here (in more depth than at GCSE) has taught me very much about translating foreign literature. Furthermore, Latin camp has fascinated me: the evening lectures and trip to Aquae Sulis interested me immensely, teaching me new things about the classical world and presenting new research in the field – this information would otherwise not have been available to me. (Tess Eastgate, 17)
This year we had 11 teaching groups. A significant proportion of students were studying Latin at GCSE or A Level (with the biggest group being made up of those about to start Year 13). We once again catered for those who wanted to learn Latin in preparation for starting a Classics course at university and once again, by the end of the two weeks, both beginners groups sat a GCSE language paper and achieved excellent results.
The selection of texts read by those in the pre-GCSE groups and above was as stimulating as ever. For those who were about the start Year 11, there was an opportunity to get their first taste of real Latin literature. The principles behind text choice for the Post AS groups is to select authors and works which the pupils are unlikely to have met before. The range was full of breadth, and included the likes of Lucan, Apuleius and Suetonius.
The grammar clinics were once again divided into ‘regular’ and ‘advanced’ and provided students with the chance to consolidate their knowledge of specific syntax or translation techniques; for example, Charlie’s ever popular ‘Tackling Tough Texts’ helped those in the more advanced groups to make a confident start.
The lectures have also been interesting (I particularly enjoyed the one last night on how Latin is pronounced) along with the trip to Bath. Being surrounded by so many like-minded people is another great thing about the camp and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this experience. Thank you again for the bursary as otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to make it here! (Viola Han-Smith, 19)
We do our best to offer a lecture programme which appeals to those who are new to Latin and those who have studied it for several years. We began with a talk from Dr. Claire Holleran) on the Rediscovery of Pompeii and the associated problems of conservation. Sunday night’s lecture was also archaeological in content with John Smith bringing to life the equipment and duties of a Roman legionary. The Sunday trip to Wales also offered a similar insight to those with an interest in archaeology and Roman Britain. Literature topics were of course also covered with Dr Llew Morgan returning to us to discuss Priestly Aeneas and Dr. Costas Panayotakis providing an introduction to Senecan tragedy. Prof. Matthew Leigh engaged us all in an interactive recreation of Roman sixth form education, providing the students with the chance to demonstrate their rhetorical skills . We were very lucky to welcome back two steadfast friends of the summer school: Anthony Bowen taught us how to pronounce Latin properly and Stephen Bird gave an excellent introduction to the bath complex at Aquae Sulis in preparation for the trip to Bath in the second week. In the first week, Wednesday night is now ‘Quiz Night’ on the summer school and gave the students another opportunity to meet people outside of their teaching groups. The Hellenic Book Service once again offered the chance for some subject specific retail therapy. Unfortunately it was not possible to hold the cookery lesson due to logistical problems but we hope to bring it back next year. The Latin Summer School would not be the Latin Summer School without the staff play at the end of the two weeks. The tutors always relish the chance to perform ‘Miles Gloriosus’ – whether it entertains the students or not.
- Acknowledgements and Thanks
This year we awarded £3200 in a total of 11 bursaries. It is always very important to us that we make the summer school and the learning of Latin as accessible as possible. The comments quoted throughout this report are all from those who received bursaries and the financial support is clearly appreciated by those who received it.
The sponsorship we are so generously given by those listed below not only allows us to provide places to those who would not be able to come otherwise but it also helps us keep fees down overall. David and I would like to thank those sponsors whose generosity helps makes this possible:
The Classical Association
The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
The Jowett Copyright Trustees
The Craven Committee, University of Oxford
Trinity College, Cambridge
Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge
Friends of Classics
- Next year’s course:
The website www.latincamp.co.uk continues to be the first point of contact for those who wish to apply using the online application process.
If you need further information after looking on the website or have specific questions to ask, then please do email me on email@example.com
Co-Director JACT Latin Summer School