Christ Church's Chris Pelling (Oxford University's Regius Professor of Greek, shown left), and Llewelyn Morgan (Classics Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford) have collaborated on a pamphlet just published by the thinktank 'Politeia', arguing that Latin should be included among the languages that may be taught at primary schools if the schools wish.
The last government was working towards making it compulsory for a foreign language to be taught at that stage; the legislation was dropped in the run-up to the election, but many schools have already made moves in that direction. This is not intended to be in competition with the study of English and other languages but to help with them: several studies have shown that children who study Latin are particularly quick developers at understanding grammar and vocabulary in other languages too, including their own. Language teaching will normally have to start afresh at secondary school anyway, as all the children will have studied different languages and in different ways; so why not allow primary schools to teach them the language which, as plenty of evidence shows, helps them most?
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