The inspiration for The Latin Programme came from a pioneering project in Spanish Harlem, New York where a Latin teacher,  Dr Richard Gilder, began teaching his unique and rigorous programme of Latin grammar – via facilis - to disadvantaged students, explicitly in order to improve their understanding of English. The Programme was brought to the UK in 2007 by Zanna Wing-Davey, a young Cambridge Classics graduate who saw the potential for this method to succeed with young children, offering a solid foundation in Latin and a boost to their English literacy.

One of the reasons often given for the attainment gap between rich and poor is literacy, and in particular a deeper understanding of language and grammar. It is the hallmark of a highly educated individual, whatever their field, and poor literacy holds even the most able students back at every stage of their education and professional development. Educators often have very low expectations of what children can achieve with foreign or ancient languages at primary level. But Zanna understood that teaching Latin for grammar and literacy was not the only answer. The real challenge was to teach Latin in a way that was accessible to every child in the class and to teach it in a playful, creative manner whilst not compromising on the academic rigour that is required in order for state school pupils to develop the kind of mastery of language that pupils from private schools gain from their extensive study of Latin.

The Latin Programme began when Zanna convinced a few young Classics graduates who saw things differently to teach Dr Gilder's programme in a handful of schools in inner-city London including the fantastic William Tyndale Primary School in Islington. The idea was for the teachers to build the Programme from the ground up in the classroom, and develop a bank of resources like songs, games and raps in order to teach the grammatical material (in English and Latin) on a week-by-week basis. The Programme snowballed in popularity around 2013 as more London heads wanted a trained Latin teacher based in their schools for up to a day and a half a week, not only teaching Latin in a way that was popular with their pupils but also delivering results in the challenging KS2 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar tests as well.

Ten years on and Zanna Wing-Davey continues to run the Programme as Executive Director, overseeing the expansion to many more schools in London.