Education Secretary Gavin Williamson announced this weekend that the Department of Education’s £ 4million Latin Excellence Program will be rolled out to 40 secondary schools across England.
The system will be rolled out to students aged 11 to 16 from September 2022.
It was hoped, according to the government, that by reintroducing Latin in public schools, the subject would get rid of its “elitist” stereotype.
Currently only around 3% of public schools in England teach Latin in the curriculum, compared to just under half of all independent schools.
Mr Williamson said: “We know that Latin has a reputation for being an elitist subject that is only reserved for the privileged few. But the subject can bring so many benefits to young people, so I want to end this division. “
The Latin Excellence program will also give students the opportunity to visit Roman heritage sites to deepen their knowledge of the classics, the department added.
The national charity Classics For All, which is already working with schools across the country to provide Latin learning for young people, said the program was a “good start”.
Jimmy Mulville, chairman of the charity, said: “Any government initiative to restore teaching of any of the mainstream subjects to public schools is welcome, so this Latin-focused initiative is a good start. to achieve this ultimate goal. “
Blackpool Sixth teacher Peter Wright, who teaches ancient history at A level and works with Classics For All to teach classical subjects to students on the Fylde Coast, also welcomed the announcement.
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However, Mr Wright said he was “cautiously excited” amid uncertainties about which parts of England would benefit, but hoped Blackpool would be chosen for funding to teach Latin.
He said: “This is very good news but I am cautiously excited as there are only 40 schools being piloted and £ 4million is not a huge amount of money in education .
“But it’s certainly a good start for education to finally realize that it has value. It’s not about learning Latin for fun, it’s a very outdated idea.
“If you look at any language and the academic languages used in the classroom, they contain a higher degree of Latin words. If we teach children even very basic Latin, we give them the gift of etymology to deepen their knowledge. understanding of these languages. “
Mr. Wright has worked with Classics For All for the past four years and regularly teams up with teachers from the Fylde Coast to teach classics to their students.
He said working with the association gives schools the opportunity to introduce fully funded classical subjects such as Latin and Greek with minimal teacher training required.
He continued, “We ran a research policy with two sixth-grade cohorts at Norbreck Academy, and the results have been phenomenal, especially with boys.
“The boys showed a significant 74% improvement in their literacy skills after learning Latin, so this is a real game-changer.
“The introduction of Latin has such a profound effect on language learning, not only for English, but also for modern foreign languages and orality, as well as for public speaking and debate. “
Teachers who want to introduce Latin to their students before the government program launches can email Peter to discuss it further.