Saturday, February 19, 2011


A parliamentary enquiry has been ordered into the EBacc. Details can be found at:

The EBacc requires 5 subjects to be taken to the appropriate level: maths, science, English, foreign language (Latin, Greek and ancient Hebrew count) and a humanity (only history, ancient history and geography count).

Two big issues for classicists
1. It is extremely important that Classical Civilisation is made a permissible subject under the 'Humanities' slot. If it is not on the same footing as 'History', then on what footing is it? As it is, 29% of state schools will drop it if it is not made an official humanity subject.
2. It is good that Latin is now an official curriculum subject. But the EBacc. allows it to be examined by only one board, the Oxford and Cambridge. It is essential that Latin should also be examinable by the Welsh Joint Education Committee (WJEC) syllabus .

(i)The WJEC is especially appropriate for state schools starting Latin.

(ii) Given that Latin is a permitted EBacc. language - presumably to encourage its spread - it is lunacy for the government to cut off the route to it by the one exam especially designed for those who may want to start it for the first time.

(iii) The government originally argued that WJEC is impermissible because it is not a GCSE. But exams in other subjects which are not technically GCSEs, but of GCSE standard, have been permitted. WJEC Latin is precisely the same, of GCSE standard and meeting all its requirements. The matter is a purely technical one.

One of the nubs
The government dilemma is that it cannot make up its mind whether one qualifies for the EBacc by taking named 'rigorous' subjects; or by taking any subjects under the five headings, as long as they are 'rigorous'. In this context, it is notable that when this idea was launched, Michael Gove attacked both history and geography for not being rigorous enough; and schools' minister Nick Gibb had no idea what the Classical Civilisation syllabuses contained (he thought there was 'too much language'! Unless he means English - they are all in translation - his comment is incomprehensible - or bottomlessly ignorant).

No comments:

Post a Comment