Thursday, 22 December 2016

Grants for books under review

The Grant Fund, set up to help with buying Minimus textbooks, is currently under review. Please do not submit any more applications at present. 
Grants are, however, available for training purposes: follow the Training News link on the website front page.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Minimusculus published today!

Minimusculus ( Very little mouse) is published today by Whitehall Printers in Bristol. 
Fun introduction to Vindolanda and the  Minimus family who lived there. Aimed at children aged 3-6. 
It looks lovely! 
Busy packing advanced orders...

Author of the Minimus books and Director of the Primary Latin Project

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Ideal for Christmas...Minimusculus!

Very excited that our new book for the very young ( aged 3-6 ) is with the printer. Called  "Minimusculus” – “ very little mouse” it is ideal pre-Minimus material as it introduces Vindolanda and the family who lived there. It is mostly in English but teaches Latin greetings and numbers 1-10. Beautifully illustrated by Helen Forte. Ideal for Christmas! 

Publication date Dec.7th

Barbara Bell
Author of the Minimus books and Director of the Primary Latin Project

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

This morning I was delighted to hear the long-term influence Minimus has had on her education. ..

Minimus and my journey through Classics

Imogen Stead

For a seven-year-old with limited knowledge of any language other than English, Latin might not seem like the obvious place to start. And yetit was at this age that I began to show such a strong interest in the funny language found in churches, on monuments and adorning crests that my mum thought it was time to put a stop to my barrage of questions and find some answers. Latin, uncommon enough further upthe education ladder, was not at the top of the list of subjectsfor my primary school to offer, so mum turned her attention towards whatever beginners’ resources she could find in order to foster my interest in the language. 

Upon coming across the Minimus textbook, she realised that she had struck gold: here was an approachable, manageable introduction to the lingua Latina which was specifically aimed at engaging and enthusing young learners such as me. Unlike its more daunting counterparts, aimed at schoolchildren about to begin a rigorous and old fashioned training in the language, the Minimus books provided and imaginative and, dare I say it, fun approach to language-learning. I began to follow Minimus the mouse through various storyboards which integrated simple Latin speech bubbles with colourful pictures, each one aiming to make me familiar with a new feature of the language. Along the way, the chapters introduced characters from a ‘typical’ Roman household to give me my first taste of Roman history, and connected the unknown with the familiar through etymological pointers so that I could begin to link English words with their ancient counterparts.

By the end of the first book, I had a strong interest in all things Latin and couldn’t wait to continue it in a formal educational environment. In addition, I found that it gave me a firm foundation for learning other languages: when I started learning French in the latter stages of my primary school years, the similarities in the vocabulary and structure of the language were immediately apparent to me, enabling me to pick up the fundamentals much more easily than might otherwise have been possible.

Fast-forward to today, as I enter the closing stages of my undergraduate degree in Classics, and still I find myself occasionally glancing back to my first steps in learning Latin through Minimus. Just the other day, in my Latin Historical Linguistics tutorial, a discussion about the different treatments of the Proto-Indo-European voiced aspirate system in the Sabellic languages and early Latin language prompted the mention of the name ‘Rufus’ as an interesting counter-example. I smiled to myself as I remembered the cheeky red-haired boy Rufus to whom I had been introduced through Minimus – who could have guessed that so many years down the line we would meet again!

Mus Exit.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Mythology Competition results

The results of the 2016 Mythology Competition are up, and so are next year's topics! Click here to read about the competition, and here to find the winners' names. Pictures and stories will be posted soon.

Article about Latin in the Academy Transformation Trust

Kelly Vaughan, Vice Principal of Jubilee Academy, Mossley, has sent us this article on Latin in the Academy Transformation Trust. Minimus is the course used, although not mentioned by name!

Current Minimus book prices

Here's a list of prices correct in September 2016, which may be useful!

                                                          Hellenic Bookservice/CUP             Amazon

Minimus Book 1 Starting out in Latin     £13.95                                       £12.17

Minimus Book 2 Moving on in Latin      £13.95                                       £12.52

CD 1                                                 £16.74                                       £13.16

CD 2                                                 £20.34                                       N/A

Teacher's Book 1                                £57.95                                      £50.99

Teacher's Book 2                                £57.50                                      £57.50

Hellenic Bookservice gives 10% discount and offers free delivery to schools on orders over £50.

Amazon has a variable P&P depending upon the speed of the delivery. It is free on larger orders, if there is no rush.

Newsletter 60 is published!

Download Newsletter 60 and find all previous editions here.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Training grants and book grants

Training Grants

A growing number of primary schools across the UK now teach Latin on the curriculum as their designated language at Key Stage 2.  Training  for teachers interested in using Minimus to introduce Latin as an enrichment activity or as a  designated language is available to schools across the UK.  Grants to cover the costs of training are available to state schools from the national charity Classics for All.  If you are interested in a grant, please email for further advice on how to apply.

If you have queries about the Minimus materials, first try “ New to Minimus?” on our website. For any further advice please email the Author, Barbara Bell  -

Book grants

To find out about grants to help with the cost of books, please visit this page on the website

Friday, 2 September 2016

Minimus et Minimusculus

Helen and I had a lot of fun writing a new book for children aged 4-6 – “ Minimusculus” (“a very little mouse"). This is an introduction to the Romans, Vindolanda and the Minimus family. 

Helen is now creating wonderful pictures for it. We plan to include songs and links to other activities on the website! 

We are working hard to get this out in good time for Christmas. Watch the website for details of publication and purchasing.

July :  I also spent a few days in Sorrento writing new Minimus material whilst gazing across to Vesuvius…

Watch the website (  for news about the new material. My lips have to be sealed at present! 

Exciting sites/sights in the South of France

Here I am at the Pont du Gard and the theatre at Orange in France!

This summer I saw the amphitheatre at Nimes, the Roman theatre at Orange and the stunning Pont du Gard. Three marvellous Roman sites in 3 days!

Minimus July News

July :  2 Minimus days training teachers in the Midlands, sponsored by Classics for All.  At the invitation of Anna Donnelly, I visited Fordbridge Community Primary School and also Codsall Heath Primary. Thanks, tired teachers at the end of term, for welcoming me, looking after me and showing such interest in Minimus! 

The Solihull project has been a very exciting development, thanks to inspired and enthusiastic leadership from Anna Donnelly. Good luck with your new job in London!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Are you new to Minimus?

Visit our 'New to Minimus' page to find out what's essential to start teaching Minimus, and what materials are useful as extras.

If you prefer, you can download the information as a PDF here

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

June 3rd 2016 - Memorial Service for Sir Jeremy Morse

It was a great privilege to attend the memorial service of Jeremy Morse, who gave so much support "to Minimus" and the Primary Latin Project over so many years. The service, one of three for this great polymath, was held in the beautiful setting of the chapel at New College, Oxford, his former college. This was followed by tea at All Souls, where he was a fellow.

As always, it was fascinating to learn so much about the facets of Jeremy's life and I thoroughly enjoyed meeting some of his extended family - 4 children, 14 grandchildren and 6 great-grand children! I remember one Christmas they all converged on the Morses' country home in Gloucestershire and Jeremy had selected the Christmas reading for the whole family - to work through both Minimus books at bedtime!

The tributes to him - in music, words and even Sophocles' Ode on Man from the Antigone, read in Greek, were beautiful. We have lost an extremely kind man with a giant intellect.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Saying 'vale' to Pam plus more!

1. May 7th - we had a very happy committee meeting with so many exciting ideas for future Minimus resources. Sadly, we said goodbye to Pam Macklin, who is leaving the committee after 20 years of wonderful support for Minimus!
2. May 18th - a very enjoyable training day at Chew Valley school. Representatives from 4 schools met to consider using Minimus. None were Latin specialists but were encouraged to learn that Minimus is being taught very successfully by non-Latinists. Thanks to Helen Currie and Classics for All for setting this up and for the potential development of another Classics Hub - and only 8 miles from my home.
3. Helen Forte and I are meeting in August to create new pre-Minimus material for children aged 3-6.
Thank you for so much positive feedback and so many good suggestions about this material.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Minimus for little ones

Dear Supporters,

As you know Minimus was designed for children aged 7 - 10, i.e. children in our junior schools. During recent years  I have been very aware that children much younger than 7 are enjoying some form of simple Latin based on Minimus and are getting to know the characters in the family, and so on. Helen Forte and I are interested in creating some material for these pre-Minimus children.

 Do you teach Minimus to children younger than 7?

 Are you an infant teacher?

 Are you home-schooling a child younger than 7?

If you fall into any of these categories we would really appreciate your views on what sort of material would suit your purposes.  Please get in touch to let us know the sort of activities that your very young pupils enjoy; how much actual Latin language do you do?  What sort of materials would help to make Latin more accessible for these tiny ones?
Helen Forte and I plan to get together in August to write some material, so we would love to hear from you as soon as possible with your views.  It is incredible to think that children so young can be enjoying Latin -  but why not?  I really look forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes
Barbara Bell

Sunday, 8 May 2016

PLP Committee Meeting

Just had a wonderful Committee Meeting with lots of exciting ideas.

Helen and I are excited at the thought of writing simple Minimus material for very young children!

Watch this space,

Monday, 2 May 2016

Minimus Grants

Applications for 'MINIMUS'  Grants
One or two teachers have asked for clarification on how to apply for a grant. Grants are available to schools in the UK, to help with the cost of buying Minimus books. Schools are expected to
1. Once you have filled in your application form (downloaded here) , please send it (by email or by post) to Wendy Hunt (details at bottom of form). You can also receive an application form and details of the Hellenic Bookservice if you email
2. At the same time as sending off your application form, you will be able to order your 'Minimus' resources straightaway, since the Hellenic Bookservice  allows you thirty days to pay your invoice. Your cheque from the fund should reach your school within two weeks of receiving your application form.
We hope this makes it clearer! Please contact Wendy if you need any more help.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Reaction from schools: 'Minimus' quotes...

‘We are keen to introduce Latin into our timetable, having identified ‘Minimus’ as the resource that would be most appropriate to our needs.’

(Laxton Junior School, Oundle, Peterborough)

‘There is so much interest and enthusiasm in our Latin Club that I can make a strong case for introducing Latin to the Literacy Hour.’

(Paul Hillman:Tunbury Primary School, Chatham, Kent)

‘Thank you so much for the grant. The children are absolutely delighted that their Latin club is able to continue and they are full of ideas!’

(Mrs Sue Burt (Deputy Head): Elson Junior School, Gosport)

‘We love our Latin Club. Ws have 12 keen young ladies whose enthusiasm more than compensates for their ability at the moment. There was great jubilation in the staff room today when the cheque arrived.’

(The staff: Susan (Agrippina) and Carol (Diana):Harvington School, LONDON)

‘The Latin Club is well attended with 16 children turning up regularly for extra stimulation. This is a deprived school but I am constantly impressed by their quickness and enthusiasm.’

(Head of Classics: Withington Girls’ School, Manchester: Her 6th form classicists go into nearby Old Moat Primary School)

‘So far we teach 60 pupils for Latin and their interest has been immense. We have made it part of their ‘Excellence and Enjoyment’ afternoon.’

(Harton Junior School, South Shields)

‘The Head has been very enthusiastic about the PLP project and is hoping to sit in the class so she can learn Latin herself.’

(Auchencairn School, Castle Douglas, Galloway)

‘The children are thoroughly enjoying their lessons and are also benefiting from their interaction with the children from St Martin’s Primary School and the two tutors from the Grammar school.’

(Helen Ward (Deputy Head): Vale View Community Primary and Nursery School, Dover, Kent)

‘Dorothy Allen, who will teach the course, is planning to dress up as a large grey mouse for the first class!’

(Fr. Michael Brown (Head): St Mary’s R.C. Presbytery School, Forest Hall, London, NE12 7AB)

‘The Latin Club is still going well and has now been extended to a second group of children. ‘Minimus Secundus’ is needed for the original group, so your grant will help us to buy this.’

(C.A. McMahon (Head): Holy Family School, Welwyn Garden City. Herts.)

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

British Museum Day cancelled - eheu!

Eheu! The projected Minimus Day at the British Museum, planned for June this year, has been cancelled. We are very sad about it, but hope to come up with a different plan at our May meeting. All bookings have been refunded. 

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

A message from Minimus

salvete omnes!

It’s time to get creative for our annual Mythology Competition!  You can make a painting, drawing, collage, piece of craftwork, write a poem or a play or record a DVD of your play on the topic of either Perseus and Medusa or Pegasus.
Download the information sheet and entry instructions here, or email the organiser, Linda Soames, at for further details.
NB The closing date is MONDAY 2nd MAY so get cracking now!

Minimus is really looking forward to seeing all your ideas!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Latest news from Barbara...

January 2016:
Helen Forte and I were delighted to receive our copies of the Portuguese version of Minimus.  This is a translation for those in Brazil and it is thrilling to think of children in Rio enjoying the same stories about Vindolanda and its family.

February 2016:
I was invited to speak at a conference for Welsh Classics Teachers in Swansea organised by Evelien Bracke.  Anna Donnelly, who runs the Solihull Project, and Jayne Treasure, a Minimus Trainer, also spoke about their work with Minimus, so the mouse had a good airing on the programme!  Exciting things are happening in Wales and we are following the spread of Classics there with interest.

On 26th February I was invited back to work with Classics students at Birmingham University by Elena Theodorakopolous , they were an enthusiastic bunch and it was fun exploring ways in which they might use Minimus in the future.  Some of them are certainly considering going into teaching.

Barbara Bell

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Book up for the BM Day!

There are only a few weeks left to book for the British Museum Minimus Day!
Click here for more information, and here for the booking form.

I hope to see you there!

Website housekeeping

We have tidied up a few loose ends on the website recently. The set of schemes of work devised by Sara Wilkinson have their own page, here. The site map has been reorganised as well, and the inset page reflects the new pattern of training that has replaced the old training days.