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PLP Newsletter October 2020

Dear Supporter

Message from the Director of the Primary Latin Project

I did not imagine that we would still be in the middle of a pandemic when it was time to put this Newsletter together, but here we are.

However, despite the current situation, work has not stopped at PLP. We have concentrated on producing more free online resources, given grants, answered queries as well as continuing to work with CfA’s Networks to provide training for schools throughout the country. All credit to schools for moving forward with introducing Latin in these extremely challenging times.

Our annual Mythology Competition proved to be popular this year. The number of individual entries was noticeable, and I encourage anyone who is looking for an enjoyable and productive activity for Key Stage 2 and 3 children to look at the details on the website. All the myths are available as audio stories on the website. In Wales, we are already in lockdown and it looks as if England will follow – time to get creative.

Sue Balmer, a PLP committee member and a very busy trainer, and I ‘attended’ the ALL (Association for Language Learning) Primary Languages Conference Online 2020 in October; it was a very informative day and it was good to see Latin as part of this vibrant languages community. If schools want a Latin course which will enable them to fulfil the National Curriculum Languages ’s requirement for Key Stage 2, they should head straight for Minimus: it ticks all the boxes as well as being great fun for both teacher and learner. I have noticed a significant trend over the years. Those children who attended a Minimus Club in two local primaries, not only come to the extra-curricular Latin in the High School, but they stay for years. I am still doing Zoom lessons with some students, now 14 years old, whom I first met when they were 10. I am sure I am not alone in seeing the connection with an early love of Latin.

There have been many online opportunities for those who enjoy anything classical. ARLT’s

Summer School went online in July and was a great success. This was followed by a day’s TeachMeet in October. I was delighted to be involved in the primary session.

I also enjoyed a course run by the University of Reading on the Futurelearn website: Rome: a Virtual Tour of the Ancient City. Not quite the same as being there but extremely interesting.

Classics for All update: During these difficult times, Classics for All is still offering free support to any schools wishing to train to introduce Latin via Minimus or any other classical subject on the primary or secondary schools’ curriculum. Training can be offered online or face to face. For more information, just send a few details about your school and its classical interests to

Virtual meetings are now the ‘new normal’ and we held a very productive PLP committee meeting in September where we discussed our aims for the year ahead: more resources (including those to help with Blended Learning), more training and an online Minimus Day, most likely in the summer 2021. We still hope to celebrate Minimus 21st birthday (belatedly), plus sales of over 180,000 sales of the first book.

As always, thank you to all PLP committee members, trustees and trainers for your work and support.

As a self-confessed cat lover, a tweet (Guardian Books) caught my eye earlier this week: ‘What can we learn from cats? Don’t live in an imagined future’ (John Gray). Seems a good idea at the moment.

Alfie has the right idea.

With many thanks for your support,

Jayne Treasure

Report from PLP’s Honorary President

To all Minimus Supporters

Recent Minimus Activity:

1. Minimus Et Cetera: We have been very busy during the period of lockdown when we continued to trade. We received many orders - mostly small and mostly from home schoolers, keen to teach their children some Latin. We received a number of orders from the USA. Since September, several schools have been in touch with large orders, especially for the workbooks. The Workbooks and Minibooks are our best sellers. Apart from the USA we have had orders from Holland and Australia. Sales of the first Minimus book are now close to 180,000 copies worldwide. The price of both Teachers' Resource books continues to be a problem, especially for home schoolers.

2. Training: I have not done any training for over a year. I am willing to help with training in the South West and Midlands but appreciate that my experience of teaching Minimus is now rather outdated and there are many experienced, first-rate trainers who are doing an excellent job. I may be of use to train individuals around my dining-room table! I have done quite a bit of this in the past.

3. Correspondence: I still receive many enquiries about Minimus products. It seems that teachers remain confused about the products that we offer and what is needed to teach Latin, what is extra material etc. Jayne and I share the queries between us. Please see: What I need to teach Minimus

4. Minimus in Bristol:

a) I was due to teach PGCE students for a one-day course on using Minimus in June this year. Obviously, it was cancelled but the PGCE tutors wish to continue with this course next year. We attract MFL, English and History students. There is no Classics PGCE course in Bristol.

b) I am the Events Manager of the Bristol Classical Association and enjoy organising a programme of good speakers. We also run a Latin Play competition and have introduced a Junior level for schools using Minimus. This has proved popular and we hope it will run again next year. Jayne and my former Classics teacher were due to be judges this year.

c) I remain very interested in our Mythology competition and it has been gratifying to see local schools participating and doing well. Last summer I presented the prizes at St. Augustine's school in Downend, Bristol.

d) In June I created some attainment and extension tests (now called Progress Checks) for Minimus 1. Jayne, Linda Soames and Sue Balmer reviewed them and made good improvements. Helen then transformed them with her wonderful illustrations, so they now look fun to do! It was an intense period of about 11 days to complete them. It was very good to be writing again.

Minimus Et Cetera has continued trading during the pandemic. Don’t forget to order pencils, stickers etc in good time for Christmas, especially if ordering from abroad.

Best wishes to you all,


New Resources

On the PLP website PLP Resources

(NB Many resources are also on the Minimus website)

  • Progress Checks (Attainment and Extension levels) for Minimus 1 covering all aspects of the textbook. (written by Barbara Bell and illustrated by Helen Forte)

  • Minimus Workbook 2 (Barbara Bell and Helen Forte)

  • Minimus Picture Dictionary (illustrations by Helen Forte, words supplied by Stef Bristow)

  • Word Roots (Helen Forte and Charlie Andrews)

Thank you to all who created resources.

New Minimus Website

Helen Forte has created a new Minimus website where there are lots of lovely ideas and resources, plus the Minimus Et Cetera range of products.

Mythology Competition 2020

The full report can be found here:

Many new schools and individuals entered this year. As always, we are indebted to the Jowett Trust for a generous grant to cover the costs of the competition, to our organiser, Catherine Tildesley, to our judges and to Rachael Jones, PLP’s administrator, for sending out all the prizes.

Myths for 2021 will be: Key Stage 2 Pandora’s Box; Key Stage 3 Odysseus and the Sirens, available in the Minimus textbooks and at: Full details are on the Primary Latin Project Website.

1st prize – Arisha; King Henry VIII School (Level 1 Art 2020)

Grant Report

General Information for grant applications: applications are considered by the trustees of PLP three times per year. The next deadline is February 15th, 2021. Grants are awarded to state schools and range from c. £50 - £250.

Grants can help support the purchase of Minimus textbooks, Teachers’ Book and CDs, plus dictionaries etc. Please note that grants are not awarded for items on sale at Minimus Et Cetera.

Since the last Newsletter, I am delighted to report that fifteen schools have received PLP grants. They are: Browick Primary and Nursery School, Norfolk; Longthorpe Primary School, Peterborough; Medway Community Primary School, Leicestershire; Hotwells Primary School, Bristol; Highcliffe Primary School, Leicestershire; Riverside Primary School, Leicestershire; St Andrew’s C of E Primary School, Liverpool; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, London; St Margaret’s C of E Primary School, Liverpool; Poplar St. Primary School, Manchester; Dixons Manningham Primary School, Bradford; Crawfords C of E Primary School, Suffolk; St Gregory’s Catholic Primary School, Margate; St Hugh of Lincoln Catholic Primary School, Surrey; St Luke’s C of E Primary School, Formby.

The grant form is available on the PLP website. If you have any questions regarding PLP grants, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Other News

The Classical Association has put together a comprehensive list of resources:

Vindolanda news: If you missed the story, have a look at a leather ‘Minimus’ found at Vindolanda on our News page

The Vindolanda Trust has also developed an app to help children learn about life on Hadrian’s Wall.

If you need somewhere to stay near Vindolanda (and it is a stunning part of the country) have a look at: run by Nigel and Catherine Jarvis. Catherine is a PLP committee member and a Vindolanda guide.

CREWS project (Faculty of Classics, University of Cambridge).

The project explores the contexts of and relations between early writing systems. The resources have been developed for primary age children. All of the teaching materials are available for free on the website, along with a range of video tutorials and online workshops.

There is a free CPD event: Writing in the Ancient World on Tuesday 17th November 2020 at 4.00 pm GMT (UK time) (finishing by 5.15pm)

Finally, Classic Graphic Novels (free online)

Contact details:

Jayne Treasure, PLP Director

PLP on Twitter:



Minimus on Twitter:


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Unfortunately, we will not be able to hold our Mythology Competition this year. I know this will be disappointing news for many. We hope that it will be back in 2024.

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