Latin makes surprising comeback in state schools, but reforms could kill it ‘stone dead’

The Independent is reporting figures that suggest Latin has made a significant comeback in state secondary school classrooms but with fears that proposed reforms to the curriculum could kill it off…

The number of non-selective state maintained secondary schools offering the subject to pupils has shot up from around 100 a decade ago to just over 600 today, according to the University of Cambridge Schools Classics Project.

The huge rise is down to Government funds being provided to allow the project to develop digital materials so that schools without a qualified Latin teacher could allow their pupils to study the subject online.

“Our new Key Stage Four Latin initiative is designed for any non-specialist teachers of Latin in state schools who seek a confidence boost or a development opportunity,” said Will Griffiths, director of the project.

Now the CSCP has been given a £500,000 two-year grant to boost still further the take up of the subject by the Department for Education.

It will allow it to train a further 300 non-specialist teachers to teach Latin, building on a scheme jointly funded by the Classics Association which saw the training of 80 such teachers last year.

However, the CSCP warned that the revival could be short-lived, and that plans to revise the GCSE curriculum for Latin could end up killing off the subject in state schools.

Under the changes brought in in 2006, all students will be expected to read and discus original Latin literature within two years of starting their studies, a task that Latin teachers believe would take four years to master.

A survey of 100 Latin teachers by the CSCP revealed that none of them felt the new qualifications could be taught in the two years which many schools would have available for the subject.

One said: “The Department for Education proposals will kill Latin stone dead, end of story. The proposals are unachievable even by many abler students.”…

More at: Latin makes surprising comeback in state schools


So, two stories in one here: a significant revival of Latin in schools but the threat now that it could be killed off completely by the proposed reforms. Has your/your child’s state school reintroduced Latin and, if so, what has been the impact? And do you agree with the fears articulated that the proposed reforms could make the continued teaching of the subject at GCSE untenable? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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  1. Heatherleatt

    MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove I’ve been in a number of schools over last couple of years where it’s taught. Pupils really like it.

  2. spsmith45

    Heatherleatt MaryMyatt SchoolsImprove One problem with Latin is that it may compete with MFL. Different kettle of fish.

  3. BalfePaula

    SchoolsImprove I did 3 yrs Latin it helped me with Spanish to Russian & helps in English too!!! Wld b shame 2 lose?

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