Top head attacks ‘prejudice’ against Latin in state schools

The Telegraph is reporting that the president of the ASCL has called for more schools to offer subjects such as Latin to narrow the gap between the state and private sector…

Pupils in state schools are being effectively barred from studying traditional subjects such as Latin and Ancient Greek because of “prejudice” from teachers, a leading head has warned.

A “scornful” attitude has been allowed to build up towards the classics as they are often seen as elitist disciplines only offered by the country’s leading public schools such as Eton and Harrow, it was claimed.

Ian Bauckham, president of the Association of School and College Leaders, which represents secondary heads, said the study of Latin provided a vital linguistic framework for learning other languages.

It also provided pupils with an important cultural and historical reference point, he said.

The Government has actively promoted the teaching of Latin and Ancient Greek in state schools by adding them to a list of subjects that count towards the English Baccalaureate – a league table measure that rewards schools for promoting academic subjects.

It has corresponded with an increase in the number of state schools offering the subjects over the past decade, with 1,000 secondary schools now teaching Latin, Greek, classical civilisation or ancient history in some form.

Last year, more than 11,000 teenagers sat a GCSE in Latin, up 12 per cent in a year.

But Mr Bauckham, the head of Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, which has been teaching Latin for almost a decade, said there was still reluctance on the part of many schools to provide lessons in the subject for fear of appearing elitist…

More at: Top head attacks ‘prejudice’ towards Latin in state schools

This issue crops up periodically but do you agree with Ian Bauckham that there is a prejudice against the teaching of Latin in state schools and do you think it would be a good thing to get more students learning it? Or do you question its relevance nowadays? Please share in the comments or via Twitter…

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Categories: Secondary and Teaching.


  1. spsmith45

    SchoolsImprove Trouble is, Latin may displace a modern language. This is not about elitism. It’s about rational choices.

  2. Timewalkproject

    SchoolsImprove RJHabbs Latin& Greek died out as State schools can’t afford to teach minority subject unlike Private schools

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