That I am passionate about the continued inclusion of Latin in the curriculum is, I hope, proved by this being my 43rd year of non-stop teaching the subject in prep and public schools.
I treat the subject more as an exercise in decoding, of thinking outside the box, which makes it one of the most relevant subjects on the curriculum for our children, in a world where flexibility and inventiveness will be paramount to survival and success.
With Year 5, my aim is to instil in the pupils a love of the classical world through Greek mythology, and an interest in their heritage through a project on the Romans in Norfolk.
Thence to Latin proper in Year 6 through to Year 8, with all pupils given full access, not just the academic elite. Indeed, the thesis for my Masters was entitled ‘Mass Latin’ and explored the benefits of my teaching techniques especially for children with learning difficulties. Structure and predictability were key factors.
I find it an immense privilege to have started so many students in the subject, many of whom take the subject to even greater heights in their next schools and beyond.
The mental agility that enables me to translate Virgil’s Aeneid has also empowered me to change the head gasket on my Series 2 Land Rover and lead a major kayaking expedition to Greenland. I wish the same for my students.
Gareth Burnell, Head of Classics
MEd (Cantab.), BA (Hons), FRGS
Next year will be my 44th of teaching Latin in schools and I never want it to stop. My philosophy is rooted in inclusion, shying away from the traditional ‘elitism’ of ‘the classics’. My pupils are taught to ‘think outside the box’ and to treat Latin as a magnificent decoding exercise, embraced by all the imagination and splendour of classical culture. I have never had more support for my department than here at Beeston.
I am a kayak coach, a yachtmaster and a powerboat instructor, and have led over 60 expeditions in the UK and abroad. My not-so secret passions are my electric bicycle and my 1966 Series 2a Landie, in which I learned to drive!