Thursday, December 2, 2010

Return of Latin gathers a legion of new backers

Greg Hurst Education Editor

The Times

December 1 2010 2:05AM

Campaigners for the revival of Latin in state schools received a boost yesterday as a minister raised his standard in support of their cause.

Nick Gibb, the Schools Minister, urged head teachers to take advantage of the Government’s plans to pare back the national curriculum, saying that they would have more time for subjects such as Latin.

He was speaking in support of a pamphlet calling for Latin to be offered in primary schools, with a foreword by, among others, the playwright Tom Stoppard, the authors Colin Dexter and Tom Holland, the Editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop and the television historian Bettany Hughes.

Others backing the campaign to restore Latin, and Greek, to state schools include Joanna Lumley and Boris Johnson.

They join a varied group of classical linguists who include Frank Lampard, the Chelsea footballer, who achieved an A grade in Latin at GCSE while a pupil at the independent Brentwood School, Essex.

The pamphlet’s authors, a regius professor of Greek at Oxford, Chris Pelling, and a classics Fellow at Cambridge, Llewelyn Morgan, argue that Latin has been squeezed out by an over-large national curriculum and, more recently, a bias towards modern foreign languages in primary schools.

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