Monday, January 22, 2018

Cutting access to Latin affects social mobility

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Sad news from the Yorkshire Post:
A North Yorkshire school where Latin has been on the curriculum for more than 600 years is to stop teaching the classical language for the first time in its history due to funding restrictions. 
Latin will be notably absent when Richmond School – which was founded as Richmond Grammar School in the 14th century – announces its new GCSE programme on Tuesday.
Sad,, because as I once wrote:
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 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.
English grammar is taught formally these days, but I suspect there is something in the words of the school's former lead teacher for Latin and classics, as quoted by the Post:
"Cutting access to Latin affects social mobility. It is very hard to get access to Latin and the classics anywhere outside of London and the south east of England. That has a knock-on effect on access to university degrees, especially at the leading universities."

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