38th JACT Latin Summer School, Wells Cathedral School
Directors: David Stephenson and Alexandra Boyt
I feel privileged to have been taught by some inspiring and very knowledgeable tutors, who have always been eager to explain new concepts, and have challenged me to stretch my linguistic abilities. Grammar clinics have helped me practice and revise different grammatical structures, and evening lectures have opened my mind to other areas of classics. I particularly enjoyed a lecture on the influence of Hercules. On top of this, I have made friends for life, not only from Britain, but different countries and continents as well! It is so refreshing to spend time with people who are also enthusiastic about Latin and from whom I have also learnt so much.
(comment from a post-beginner student)
The 38th Latin summer school once again took place at Wells Cathedral School, Somerset. Our traditional spread of ages continued, with the youngest being 15 and the oldest being 43. This year 10% of students came from overseas, which is one of the highest percentages for the last 5 years. 30% of our school age students were from the state sector and, once again, nearly a quarter of students were studying at undergraduate and postgraduate level. We continue to offer as much financial support as we can, with 12 bursaries being given in 2018 worth nearly £4000.
‘Having taught myself Latin with the help of a JACT Latin Camp two years ago, attending Latin Camp this year has helped me immensely in several areas. As I had taught myself up to GCSE, going into A Level learning this year seemed a daunting task as my counterparts had been learning for much longer. However, the amazing teaching and intensity of work has noticeably improved my ability in translating original Latin texts. The advanced grammar clinics were incredibly useful for expanding my knowledge of harder aspects of the language. I now look forward to my second and last year of A Level learning as my confidence has been hugely boosted by this experience. I have no ‘classical civilization’ background as Latin was the only aspect of the ancient world that I taught myself. Here, the evening lectures helped to expand my knowledge. I was fascinated by the array of topics and the detail given by the expert speakers, giving me a great insight into their area of interest. I am so grateful to JACT Latin Camp for giving me this opportunity to hugely boost my confidence in Latin and my own abilities.’
(a post-L6 student)
- 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 two newbies, Grace Whittingham and Lloyd Hopkins, the ropes. Sadly, this year we missed out on the expertise of Charlie Paterson and David Moyes, who took their first break from the summer school in 8 years. Fortunately, our other regular tutors, Laura Snook, Lindsey Cullen and Olivia Upchurch, joined us again. Gluttons for punishment, Sophia Potter, Sean Lambert, Harry Jones, Dick Mowbray also came for a second year in a row. The summer school could never run as smoothly as it does without the support of the directors’ assistant. We were incredibly lucky to have Annabel Kennard come back again, after doing such a phenomenal job as assistant last year.
‘I believe that attending Latin Camp this year may prove to be vital to my future. Being completely immersed in the Latin world in both its culture and language has been immeasurably valuable not only to my academic studies but has also surrounded me with people to whom I can relate, who share the same interests in classical studies as me. Coming from an environment and background where I have never had access Latin, it has been hard to find good universities that will allow students to study classics without any previous study in the subject. I thoroughly believe this camp is the best way to introduce me to the world that has otherwise been unobtainable.’
This year we had 14 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, Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae and the ever popular Horace’s odes. There were two post GCSE groups and two groups 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 enjoyed translating selections from Ovid’s Met III. 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 again had a ‘teacher training group’, who were given the opportunity to meet upcoming prescribed set texts, develop their translation skills further and discuss a variety of pedagogical approaches to teaching Latin.
Before the JACT Latin Summer School, I had previously studied Latin but as I had taken a year away from my studies, I felt that I needed to refresh my Latin knowledge before enrolling on a PGCE course to become a Latin teacher. This course has been invaluable to me as daily grammar classes, translations, and evening lectures from university professors have really strengthened my knowledge of Latin and the wider Classical World. I was apprehensive before I attended the Summer School that I would have trouble fitting in with those on my course as I have always been a shy person, but within the first week I had made firm friends with everyone in my class. This has been my experience even more enjoyable. The trips to Caerleon and Bath were both interesting and informative, allowing us to explore the Ancient sites in more detail and to question experts at the site. I would not have been able to undertake these trips without attending the Summer School. Overall, I have had an excellent time at Camp this year and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend.
(‘teacher training’ group student)
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.
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 talk on Hercules, showing that the cult of the great hero may have spread well beyond the confined of the Mediterranean. Prof. Matthew Leigh (St. Anne’s, Oxford) explored Visions of Rome in Aeneid 8 and 10. 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, although sadly we were not able to arrange for better weather, which put a bit of a dampener on the visit to Caerleon. 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. Dr. Genevieve Lively (Bristol University) gave us an insight into the character of Narcissus. 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 the origin of Roman literature and Plautus. 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. Lloyd and Harry’s double act as Hysterium and Pseudolus was a tour de force of comic timing and slapstick.
- Acknowledgements and Thanks
During my two weeks at the JACT Latin Summer School, I have really learnt a lot – not only academically, but about myself as an individual. My time in the quaint city of Wells has demonstrated that I am capable of much more than I ever thought possible. Latin and the world of classics in general has always been a huge point of interest for me and attending this camp has allowed me to expand my knowledge on the subject. An amalgamation of the excellent tutors and the wide variety of lecturers in the evenings has really shown me how diverse and captivating the classical world truly was and still is! In the short span of a mere fortnight, I have read and learnt about classical texts in such detail which will most definitely aid my transition from GCSE to A level Latin and for that, I am eternally grateful.
This year we awarded £3940 in a total of 12 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
‘I knew I loved Latin when I started learning the language, almost a year ago now. However, with the stress of three Latin GCSE exams upcoming , whilst trying to get through all of the required grammar knowledge and vocabulary, my love for Latin seemed to diminish. Attending Latin summer school has restored my love for the language. The teaching support has been fantastic and the texts have been engaging. I am now considering studying classical civilisation at advanced level. Not only has this camp helped improve my Latin knowledge and consolidated the work that we had to rush through at GCSE, the camp has also helped me make friends with likeminded people. Visiting Bath was an opportunity that I haven’t had before and it was a really lovely day out. Furthermore, the evening lectures, though advanced, were not only informative but engaging and fun too. I would like to thank all the staff for this opportunity and those who have supported my attendance at the camp. I believe this is a unique opportunity and many more students should be given the chance to experience the lovely atmosphere created here at the camp.’
- 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.
On a separate note, after ten happy years as Co-Director of the summer school, I am sad to announce that all good things must come to an end and that I will be stepping down. The Latin Summer School has been a constant and vital part of my Latin education. I have attended every summer but three, either as a student, a tutor or as director, since I was 19 years old. I can personally vouch for the important role the summer school plays in providing opportunities to those who have never been able to study Latin as part of their formal education. I am very grateful to all my fellow tutors and all the students who have made my time in Wells so very special, and above all, I am very grateful to and have been very fortunate in my ‘co-consul’, David Stephenson. I have no doubt that the Latin Summer School will continue to flourish and play such a vital role in the survival of classical education under David’s fantastic leadership.
Co-Director JACT Latin Summer School