Fill in the blanks

Yet today the angriest report yet is published by a group of……., calling for drastic action to save the subject. Where will the next generation of UK …….. come from, asks the group, drawn from university ….. departments around the country, learned societies and the government's curriculum watchdog.

Not Latin, surely? Oh yes, it must be Modern Languages. They're declining, aren't they? Or, wait a minute – what about Sciences? All those university science departments closing every week.

No, of all subjects, it's … Maths.

Just suppose, just suppose, that the universities dropped Maths as an entrance requirement, and the subject was made optional. People would be saying: “What's the use of spending all that time learning a subject that, apart from the most basic skills in counting out the right change and measuring up for putting up shelves, is of no practical use? Who will ever use the square on the hypotenuse, or simultaneous equations in later life?”

There is, by the way, a report today about how London employers find that having GCSE English doesn't mean that you can write a letter. Where is it all going?

Do we need to widen the ARLT to become ART – the Association of Real Teaching?

Lynda Goss: the struggle for Latin at Codsall continues

My favourite was the Romans

Junior Mastermind champion Robin Geddes (Year 7) was interviewed by the Guardian:

My favourite subject is history. We've done lots of different topics, like the Egyptians and the second world war and the Tudors. My favourite was the Romans, because it was so different. I liked learning about things they used to do, like the gladiator contests. I don't know if I'd have wanted to watch gladiators fighting lions. It was probably a bit scary, but exciting too.

Woman's view of Boudica

From The Herald, a piece about Vanessa Collingridge and her book about Boudica.

“The few books that are available are written by men, and they ignore the sexual dynamic that is so fundamental to the whole story of Boudica,” she says. “It is this dynamic that propels the politics, the outcome, the myth and the legend that has lasted for 2000 years.

“When I was at school I identified with Boudica's feistiness and she became my personal mascot. The other girls could have their blonde-haired Barbies, but I had my kick-ass carrot-top Queen.”

The flame-haired Collingridge identifies with the sense of “otherness” surrounding Boudica. Her older four siblings and both parents all have the bright red hair of the Celtic race – her mother's family is from Scourie, Sutherland, and her father is half-Irish. Growing up in a small village in rural England, she remembers being acutely aware of how conspicuous the family were, and of being mercilessly teased at school.

Boudica, a Groundbreaking Biography of the True Warrior Queen, is published by Ebury at £18.99

Gladiator : Sword of Vengeance – an X-Box game reviewed

You might – but probably won't – be interested in this review of a game inspired by the film Gladiator. Anyway, the review is here.

Observer review of 'Pompeii: the Living City'

Pompeii: The Living City
by Alex Butterworth and Ray Laurence
Weidenfeld & Nicholson £20, pp386


Read the review.

Magna Graecia exhibition in Calabria

BBC correspondent David Willey announces that:

A world-class archaeological exhibition opened this week in Calabria, in the toe of Italy. …

Salvatore Settis of the University of Pisa, one of Italy's leading archaeologists, has brought together in Catanzaro, Calabria's regional capital, more than 800 pieces of sculpture in marble and terracotta from Magna Graecia.

They were originally dug up or recovered from the sea all around the coasts of southern Italy, but are now scattered in museums and private collections around Europe.

There are also gold and silver coins, ancient maps, books, inscriptions and Greek vases, as well as portrait busts and votive offerings to Greek gods whose shrines once dotted the Italian landscape.

See the article, with pictures, here.

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