Disappearance of Classics in education

30th August 2013 at 01:00

It is with great sadness that I write with regard to the situation of Classics and classical education in Scotland. I am a student at the University of Glasgow, living in Lanark, studying Classics and English literature. It was always my intention, after completing my degree, to continue in education and become a Classics teacher. Having been a pupil at Lanark Grammar School, I was privileged to see the great benefits of Classics teaching and education at its finest under the guidance of some excellent teachers.

However, the situation for training Classics teachers in Scotland is currently non-existent. This is a great loss to Scottish children as Classics education is fast becoming a discipline for the private sector. Some independent schools already employ people without any formal teaching qualifications as Classics teachers, as there is no supply from the teacher training institutes.

This cannot surely be condoned by the Scottish government, when there are people wanting to be trained in this field. It is not because of a decline in interest from students that Classics has disappeared from the state sector, as most schools that still offer it have high presentation numbers ("Ad hoc Latin club has 'cult' appeal", 23 August). Where is freedom of choice and equal opportunity for the children of Scotland? The University of Glasgow was the last place in Scotland where a Classics PGDE was delivered, and it seems as though it has just vanished from the offered curriculum without due cause.

With Latin being one of Scotland's heritage languages and the rich tradition of Classical learning and influences in the Scottish culture, it seems unthinkable that there is no provision for teaching children the key foundations of our past, when so much time, money and publicity is spent on the benefits of the Gaelic medium. Latin provides an equally beneficial, if not greater, learning environment, as it allows us to recognise and understand not only our own culture and heritage, but also our place in the international European community.

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