Latinus bonus in scola est

Noor Al-Bazzaz 20 January 2008

There has been a dramatic increase in the number of state secondary schools offering Latin over the past seven years, a recent report has shown.

The Cambridge Schools Classics Project (CSCP), based at the University of Cambridge, found that 471 state schools now include Latin as a subject choice for 12-14 year olds. This represents a threefold increase since 2000.

This development, the CSCP confirms, has been heavily aided by the changes taken by the government in attempting to encourage the study of Latin. In 2000, the DfES began a major initiative to allow schools to offer Latin, even without a specialist Latin teacher.

Conservative MP Boris Johnson, who was appointed president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers in May last year, has been campaigning vigorously for these improvements.

“Above all, pupils should be given the chance to learn Latin because it is a ‘crunchy’ subject which is the basis for an understanding of English and the key to untold riches”, he said.

Despite these blossoming changes, Latin is still at risk. Cambridge University specialist in Education, Bob Lister, warns that the rise may be limited to Key Stage 3 pupils, rather than GCSE or A-Level.

There is also a serious problem with recruiting teachers and Lister added “Unless someone at a senior level comes up with serious ways of supporting Latin I fear that within the next generation it will pretty much disappear.”

Classics student Olivia Rothbury told The Cambridge Student why Latin popularity is booming with students ‘You have the opportunity to learn about an entire culture previously unavailable at school which broadens the mind in all aspects of literature, thought and drama’.

Noor Al-Bazzaz