More primary schools to offer Latin and ancient Greek

Latin and ancient Greek are to make a comeback in state schools under Government plans to introduce compulsory language lessons for seven-year-olds. All primary schools will be expected to teach foreign languages to pupils from 2014 as part of a major drive to boost education standards, it emerged. This is from the Telegraph…

At least one subject from a seven-strong shortlist – French, German, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Latin and ancient Greek – will be offered to seven- to 11-year-olds.

The move – outlined in a consultation document published by the Department for Education – could result in a major rise in the number of pupils studying the classical languages at a young age.

According to officials, Latin and ancient Greek were included to “give primary schools further options”, with claims that they can provide a good grounding in grammar, syntax and vocabulary which can boost pupils’ understanding of other modern languages.

It comes after a major study found that schoolchildren in England were less likely to study foreign languages to a decent standard than in any other European country.

Currently about one-in-10 state primary schools offer no language lessons at all and a further 20 per cent only offer it to some year groups.

Under new plans, all 17,000 primaries in England will now be expected to teach languages to pupils aged seven to 11.

More than nine-in-10 people responding to an initial DfE consultation launched in the summer backed plans for compulsory lessons. A further consultation will now be staged into proposals to prioritise the seven languages.

Elizabeth Truss, the Education Minister, said: “We must give young people the opportunities they need to compete in a global jobs market – fluency in a foreign language will now be another asset our school leavers and graduates will be able to boast.”

French, German and Spanish are expected to be the most popular choices for primary schools, followed by Italian and Mandarin.

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