Latin is to be taught at state schools across England in an effort to counter the subject’s reputation as one that is “elitist” and largely taught at private schools.
A £4m Department for Education (DfE) scheme will initially be rolled out across 40 schools as part of a four-year pilot programme for 11- to 16-year-olds starting in September 2022.
According to a British Council survey, Latin is taught at key stage three in less than 3% of state schools, compared with 49% of independent schools.
The education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: “We know Latin has a reputation as an elitist subject which is only reserved for the privileged few. But the subject can bring so many benefits to young people, so I want to put an end to that divide.”
He added that there should be “no difference in what pupils learn at state schools and independent schools”, adding: “Which is why we have a relentless focus on raising school standards and ensuring all pupils study a broad, ambitious curriculum.”
Latin, Williamson said, can help students with learning other languages and other subjects such as maths and English.