37th JACT Latin Summer School, Wells Cathedral School

Directors: David Stephenson and Alexandra Boyt


2017 Report

‘I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the JACT Latin Summer School in many different ways. Academically, the Summer School has been a wonderful chance to receive further, in-depth education in the world of Latin, in terms of both language and lifestyle. The regular lectures in the evening have been a great chance to meet and listen to the expertise of Classical academics, and to ask questions which may otherwise remain unanswered. These 2 weeks have given me a huge leg-up in preparation for my Latin GCSE and have inspired me to enter the world of classical studies later in life.  Socially, the Summer School has been a great opportunity to meet like-minded people.  In my spare time, I have been able to make friends who I will definitely stay in touch with after the summer school. It has been an amazing experience for the kind of people with a “classical brain” like myself and I am incredibly grateful to have had the opportunity to attend.’

(Joel Nesbitt, 15)

The 37th 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 52!  This year 4% of students came from overseas, lower than in previous years but some came from as far afield as the US and even Australia.  31% of our school age students were from the state sector and, considering the recent changes in A Levels, this is encouraging.  Nearly a quarter of students were studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level, and 32%.  We continue to offer as much financial support as we can, with 10 bursaries being given in 2017 worth over £3500.

Before coming to Latin camp, I knew that I’d benefit from grasping such an important language from scratch. But now, not only have I been stimulated, but have learnt much more. The teaching has been so helpful, and the lessons insightful. In fact, I now really want to study Classics at university! Evening lectures have contributed to this, the speakers clearly displaying their enthusiasm. I particularly enjoyed a talk about the Roman legionary, which has encouraged me to read around the subject.  The people on the course have been so friendly. As a naturally quiet person, I thought I might take a while to make friends, but was proved completely wrong! By the first evening I’d already made many and will be sad to leave such like-minded people! On the bright side though, it will be lovely to stay in contact with them and hopefully meet up.   Aside from these things, I particularly enjoyed our trip to Bath. Seeing such a well-known sight for myself, and hearing experts talk about it is not something you do every day! And again, my enthusiasm for all things Classical has only grown.

(Giselle Overy, 17)



  1. Staff and teaching

The summer school would not be the success it is without the enthusiasm and hard work of an excellent team of tutors.  Our stalwart team of repeat-returners showed our four newbies the ropes.  This is now Charlie Paterson’s and David Moyes’ 8th year in a row as tutors; Laura Snook and Olivia Upchurch are here for their 5th year in a row.  Sophia Ridley returned after a 4 year break, Dick Mowbray after a break of 3 years and Georgina returned after a year off.   Our debutantes, Harry Jones, Claire Wilkinson, Sean Lambert fitted easily into the team, and we were very pleased to welcome them. Annabel Kennard, an ex-pupil of Alex’s, did a phenomenal job as assistant, she was calm and efficient at all times, whether tidying up after the tutors or running around delivering messages to the teaching groups.

Latin Camp has been a wonderful experience which has improved my Latin massively, as well as providing many opportunities to learn more about the classical world in general. In just under a week we tackled original Latin texts from writers such as Ovid, Tacitus, and Pliny, as well as covering basic and more complex grammar points such as the noun declensions, verbs in all tenses, indirect statements, the ablative absolute, present participles, and gerunds. Through studying real Latin texts, something I had never done before now, I have had a great opportunity to prepare for a Classics degree, and to enhance my understanding of the ancient world.

(India Whitmarsh-Lewis, 22)

This year we had 13 teaching groups.  A significant proportion of students were studying Latin at GCSE or A Level (with the biggest cohort being made up of those about to start Year 13).  The selection of texts was as challenging and varied as usual, including, amongst others, Seneca’s Thyestes and a selection of Horace’s odes.  There were two post GCSE groups and one group of students who had completed their first year of Latin GCSE and were given their first taste of real Latin literature.  The post-beginners groups worked hard to consolidate what they already knew and by the end of the course were translating the story of Nero and Agrippina from Annals XIV.  We again catered for those who wanted to learn Latin from scratch.  By the end of the two weeks, both beginners groups sat a GCSE language paper and achieved excellent results.  This year, we were able to have two ‘teacher training groups’ who were given an opportunity to meet prescribed texts; discuss pedagogical approaches to teaching these; and to explore educational issues such as teaching Latin to children with dyslexia.

I came to the summer school ahead of starting a job teaching Latin in a secondary school. My ability to translate unadapted prose and verse texts has improved significantly and I was particularly grateful that our tutor went through the rules of scansion and allowed us to practice in each session, as this was something I had not covered previously. He also very patiently went over some of the more complex constructions, such as uses of the subjunctive and gerunds/gerundives, in enough detail that I now feel confident in teaching them to my pupils. I also made use of the grammar clinic on gerunds/gerundives which was very helpful. Overall, I have found the course incredibly useful and fully intend to return next year!

(Natalie Enright, 28)

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 and we introduced a new clinic on ‘First Steps in Literary Criticism’ to give those who had only just started reading Latin literature a taste of textual analysis.

  1. Events

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.  As is traditional, Anthony Bowen started us off with ‘The Sound of Latin’.  Prof. Llewellyn Morgan, from Brasenose College, inspired us with his detailed explanation of the meticulous artistry of Virgil.  Prof.  Matthew Leigh (St. Anne’s, Oxford) recreated a Roman rhetorical exercise based Seneca the Elder’s Controversiae. The Wednesday night quiz was its usual success.  The Sunday trip to Wales also offered an insight to those with an interest in archaeology and Roman Britain.   On Sunday evening, the novelist Ben Kane joined us for the first time and gave a fast-paced romp through life as a Roman legionary.  Amy Coker (Bristol University) led us on fascinating journey through Vulgar and vulgar Latin.  Stephen Bird, as ever, gave an excellent introduction to the bath complex at Aquae Sulis in preparation for the trip to Bath.  Costas Panayotakis educated and entertained us with a whirlwind tour of Petronius’ Satyricon. The Hellenic Book Service once again offered the chance for some subject specific retail therapy. Fortunately, Mark Grant was able to return and offer small group of students a lesson in Roman Cookery.  The Latin Summer School would not be the Latin Summer School without the staff play at the end of the two weeks.  Sophia Ridley was notably the strongest presence on stage but Harry Jones’ ‘Hero’ stole the show this year.

  1. Acknowledgements and Thanks

The post-GCSE Latin course has improved my knowledge of grammatical constructions such as: gerunds, gerundives, oratio obliqua, purpose and result clauses. I have gained confidence translating unadapted prose and verse. The sessions on scansion in particular have helped me to differentiate nominative and ablative nouns, which is a skill I have not used before when translating. Both the classes and the advanced clinics have been clear, and my tutor has helped me to translate the prologue of Seneca’s Thyestes in his own time, enabling me to use Latin to support my PhD research. This extra help has been greatly appreciated, as has the funding that allowed me to attend.  Thanks for having me, I hope to come back next year for post-AS!

(Mariah Haley, 24)

This year we awarded £3980 in a total of 10 bursaries.  It is always very important to us that we make the summer school and the learning of Latin as accessible as possible.  We welcome applications from all levels and all educational backgrounds.  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 Jowett Copyright Trustees

The Craven Committee, University of Oxford

Trinity College, Cambridge

Girton College, Cambridge

Faculty of Classics at the University of Cambridge


  1. 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 aboyt@norwich-school.org.uk


Alexandra Boyt

Co-Director JACT Latin Summer School