Latin, literacy and EdTech

Lucy Huelin (née Fielding, St Anne’s College, 2011), a Classics teacher in York turned EdTech entrepreneur, created Vocabulous, an exciting new website that aims to improve students’ English vocabulary by teaching Latin and Greek root word patterns in Year 6 and Year 7 English lessons.

Lucy is passionate about bringing the benefits of learning Latin and Greek to a wide pool of students.

...almost every word in Latin and Ancient Greek can be broken down into parts

Lucy Huelin

She said: 'When trying to work out the meaning of an unfamiliar word, few students will become detectives and look at the word’s constituent parts to puzzle out its meaning.

'This is a skill that Classics students gain in abundance, as almost every word in Latin and Ancient Greek can be broken down into parts from which you can glean things like tense, case or person.

'Vocabulous is designed to ensure that students are developing these critical skills as part of their English lessons, so that by the end of the course, they are equipped to decode unfamiliar words in English.'

Senior Research Fellow Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson is leading a team which will evaluate the impact that use of the Vocabulous website has on students’ understanding and retention of English vocabulary.

1,500 students and 50 teachers in 20 primary and secondary schools in the north of England will use the website for the whole academic year and will complete pre- and post-trial assessments to analyse the change in pupils’ progress.

The research team will also visit participating schools to talk to students and staff about their experience of using the site. During the research trial, students will learn 30 root word patterns, which will enable them to understand the basic meaning of over 1,000 English derivatives.

Vocabulous is currently undergoing a two-year trial before its public launch. It has received funding from the SHINE Trust for website development and from Christ Church for evaluation.

Schools are still being recruited to participate in the trial, both in the north of England and further afield. To find out more about being part of the trial or to support the work that the team are doing, please email