Thursday, December 2, 2010

Latin lessons for state school pupils aged five in language revival bid

From The Daily Mail

By Daily Mail Reporter

Children as young as five will be given Latin lessons as ministers attempt to revive the language in primary and secondary schools.

Condemning the long-term ‘decimation’ of Latin in state schools, Education Minister Nick Gibb swept away Labour guidance which effectively restricted primaries to teaching modern languages.

He also revealed teenagers taking a GCSE in Latin or Greek will be able to count the qualification towards the new English Baccalaureate, the proposed benchmark for secondary school achievement.

It will be awarded to youngsters gaining at least a C at GCSE in English, maths, a science, a humanities subject and a language.

The emphasis on languages comes as ministers prepare to overhaul the National Curriculum.

Mr Gibb told the Politeia think-tank in London that learning Latin helps general language skills, but it had been squeezed out by a curriculum ‘straitjacket’.

Those who argued it should not be taught to state pupils as it was ‘elitist’ were widening the gap between the rich and poor, he said.

A ‘pitifully small’ number of primaries teach Latin and only 9,246 teenagers took a GCSE in it last year – 70 per cent of them at private schools, he added.

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