Toby Young writes of his Free School and says:
'Some critics of the school said it was unrealistic to make Latin mandatory because it’s simply too difficult for most children. Better to reserve Latin for the top set and have the rest do media studies. Well, that hasn’t been our experience. All the children have taken Latin this year and they’ve all got a lot out of it. But that’s largely down to our head of classics. True, she doesn’t have a teacher-training certificate, but since we’re a free school that didn’t stop us from hiring her. There’s no doubt she’s qualified – she’s the former head of classics at Bradfield.
We were also told that Latin would put off any parent who wasn’t white and middle class. Indeed, some critics said that was our motive for making the subject compulsory, effectively accusing us of being racists and snobs. The truth is, we want the children to study Latin because it’s an essential component of a classical liberal education – something we believe all children should have access to, regardless of background or ability. We describe our school as a “comprehensive grammar” and it’s proved a winning formula. More than 1,000 children applied for our next 120 places, making us the most over-subscribed state secondary in Hammersmith and Fulham.'