This is from today's Sunday Telegraph.
Lessons on a DVD put Latin back into state classrooms
By Julie Henry
Latin will be taught in hundreds of state schools for the first time using a new programme designed to reinvigorate the subject. Hi-tech lessons, created by Cambridge University at a cost of £5 million, will give step-by-step tuition in the language, history and culture of the Romans.
Launched earlier this month, the initial run of 300 interactive DVDs were snapped up by schools in just one week.
Will Griffiths, the director of Cambridge Schools Classics Project (CSCP), said the enthusiasm could signal a revival in the number of state schools offering the subject, currently just 100.
“Latin has been under threat but this programme can secure its long-term future,” he said.
“It can refresh lessons in schools that already teach it and give schools who have never taught it the practical means to do so.” Aimed at secondary school pupils, the on-line course, which has 1,000 activities, including video clips, audio sequences and grammar exercises and tests, takes children up to GCSE level.
Crucially, the programme can be taught by non-specialist teachers, with students communicating via e-mail with classicists at Cambridge, making it ideal for state schools where there is a shortage of classics teachers. Only 35 are trained each year and most go into the private sector. With the number of pupils taking Latin GCSE in the state sector plummeting from 8,493 in 1988 to just 3,468 in 2004, the project has a lot of ground to make up.
Schools involved in the pilot said pupils were keen on the work, while parents regarded its provision “as a privilege”.
At Saffron Walden county school, in Essex, Latin lessons have boosted modern foreign language learning. A teacher Rebecca Anderson said: “It has been a great success. A lot of the children have really taken to it. You can see they have a greater understanding of other languages.”
# War with Troy: the Story of Achilles, £25.50, can be ordered from CSCP on 01223 361458. The Cambridge Latin Course E-Learning Resource, £40.95+VAT, can be ordered from Cambridge University Press on 01223 325588.
The Sunday Telegraph has 100 copies of the War with Troy: the Story of Achilles audio CD to give away to the first 100 entries drawn from those received by November 6. To enter, please include your name, address and telephone number on a postcard and mail to 'The Sunday Telegraph War with Troy Giveaway' PO BOX 604, London E14 5FE. Standard terms and conditions apply.