More students across the country will have the opportunity to learn Latin through a new £4 million programme, announced by the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
The Latin Excellence Programme will aim to level up opportunities for state secondary school pupils, as well as helping them with other subjects like English, French, Spanish and even maths. According to a British Council survey Latin is only taught at key stage 3 in 2.7% of state schools compared to 49% of independent schools.
The Government is also announcing the next phase of the £16.4m Mandarin Excellence Programme, and the fourth year of the £4.8 million modern foreign languages pilot, which supports schools to teach French, German and Spanish up to GCSE.
In addition to learning Latin, the new programme announced today will include activities such as visits to Roman heritage sites to give pupils a deeper understanding of Classics, and life in the ancient world.
An expert group will be appointed to work with schools providing the best Latin teaching in the country, to create high-quality resources to rollout to schools in disadvantaged areas with low take-up of the subject at GCSE.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
The initiative aims to boost GCSE Latin entries and will be modelled on the success of the Mandarin Excellence Programme, launched in 2016 in response to the growing importance of Mandarin as a global language. The programme now involves 75 schools across the country with more than 6,000 pupils learning Mandarin towards fluency.
To continue the success of the programme and reiterate the importance of learning new languages, the Mandarin programme is expected to be extended for a further three years from this September, run by University College London Institute of Education and the British Council.
Similarly to the Mandarin programme, the Latin Excellence Programme will be led by a centre of excellence, which will work with up to 40 schools to develop teacher training resources and lesson materials for 11-16 year-olds. Once developed, the programme will support schools over four years from 2022 to 2026, which will be evaluated for future years.
The Modern Foreign Language Pedagogy Pilot supports 45 schools, training and providing French, German and Spanish teaching resources to teachers for free. The scheme, launched in December 2018 and managed by the National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy, currently covers key stage 3 and will expand to key stage 4, including the new GCSEs, for over 1,350 teachers nationally.
Professor Mary Beard, classicist, said:
Jimmy Mulville, chairman of Classics for All and Managing Director of Hat Trick Productions, said: