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Ad hominem arguments?

Martin Lightfoot seems to dislike the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority chief executive Dr Nicholas Tate giving some friendly advice to teachers of classics about how (in his opinion) they might argue effectively for their subject and work it into the timetable (TES, June 9). He is hostile to Dr Tate's arguments and claims that Latin was once used as a weapon in the class war.

There are indeed good and bad arguments for teaching classics, and Latin has always been taught more in public than in state schools (if that is what Mr Lightfoot means by his feeble "class war" assertion).

But it is not the subject's fault if it is badly justified or taught only in public schools; and the main purpose of Dr Tate's address was, after all, to invite state school teachers to think of ways to redress the balance.

PETER JONES Department of Classics University of Newcastle

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