So it was very puzzling to read in the Guardian this morning that Toby Young's West London Free School
has faced accusations of elitism, partly for making Latin compulsory up to age 14.It seems to be that requiring all children to study Latin is precisely the reverse of elitism. It is the left-wing demand for "relevance" that often means that an academic curriculum, and everything it opens the doors to, is denied to children from poorer families.
It happens that I went to a comprehensive in Hertfordshire where everyone did Latin in the second year (or Year 8, as I think the young people say these days). It had recently ceased being a grammar school - and a very traditional grammar school at that, because we were still wearing school caps in the early 1970s - but it was a comprehensive and one that was to produce no lesser figure than Dr Richard Grayson a few years after me.
And I am grateful that I did study Latin there, because when I got the chance to take Latin O level up here in Leicestershire a few I jumped at it. And studying it taught me the grammar I was not learning in English and awakened an interest in the Classical world, two factors that led to my studying Philosophy at university.
So I am very keen on requiring all children to study Latin.