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Should primary schools teach Latin?

26/09/2016 Joanna

A leading academic is calling for Latin and Classics to be taught in all primary schools, the Independent is reporting.

Professor Dennis Hayes, an expert from the University of Derby and Chair of the College of Education Research Committee, has said that these subjects shouldn't be taught only to middle and upper class students, and that all primary schools should be teaching them.

He's warned that Latin and Ancient Greek are in danger of becoming "the preserve of public schools". However, Professor Hayes suggests that the revival of these classic subjects in state schools would "transform education".

"As a minimum, Latin and Classics should be taught in every primary school and continued into secondary school with the addition of Ancient Greek," he said.

According to SchoolsWeek, Professor Hayes is keen for a debate to take place regarding this and new government proposals.

The proposals would force independent fee-paying schools to support the state sector, which would help classic subjects to be more accessible to disadvantaged students. Specifically, smaller independent schools would be required to share facilities and teaching staff with neighbouring state schools, which would open up the door for minority subjects such as Latin and Greek.

Yet Professor Hayes says that state schools should be able to offer a classical education without the help of private institutions. However, he has suggested that any barriers to this could come from teachers themselves, who might be hesitant to add these subjects to the curriculum. 

Recent Comments
An interesting debate! Classic languages are most definitely withheld for the middle and upper classes at the moment. Only public schools entertain the prospect of teaching Latin and studying Greek at the moment. The question is, will there be a tangible benefit of transferring such subjects into the state sector curriculum? As the article says it would need a degree of support and knowledge transfer between sectors which could be a tricky move to get right. It is the classic cost versus benefit decision... Source:, 27 September 2016
If teachers are interested but unsure where to start with the subject, or in need of funds for resources, it's worth contacting The Roman Society, who may be able to help. Grants: Schools:
Claire Millington, 27 September 2016
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