Government 'attacks life-long learning' – Friends of Classics

Dear Friends

We should like to draw your attention to the document which you will find

This, in our view, is a direct attack on lifelong learning and all the
classics courses available there. Please do respond if you feel able to do
so. The online form is available at:

and, as you will see, the deadline is 7th December.

If you would like to write to your MP, or to John Denham, as well, please
do! You can find out your MP's e-mail address (and John Denham's) here:

This letter from Tim Crocker, Lifelong Learning, Sunderland, shows what the
implications will be for Lifelong Learning of the government's decision to
restrict funding to anyone taking a course to get a qualification equal or
lower (ELQ) than what they already have.


I am writing to the Joint Association of Classics Teachers as an important
partner of the Centre for Lifelong Learning and the University of Sunderland
to advise you of a threat to an element of core funding for Universities.
This could significantly damage capacity for education and training
throughout the Cultural and Heritage Sector. It could also affect the
ability of the Centre to work with partner organisations such as JACT on our
common educational agendas.


The Government has announced its intention to end grant funding for students
who register for a qualification equal to or lower than they already have
(ELQ), unless identified as one of a small number of exceptions. A student
would thus be counted as an ŒELQ¹ if they had a degree, and wanted to study
for a further qualification that was degree level or below.

This is no mere technical adjustment. The Cultural Sectoral Skills action
plan, for instance, notes that 50 % of the workforce in some sub-sectors of
the Culture and Heritage in the North East is already qualified to NVQ Level
4 (i.e. including degree level study), as are over a third of students on
the part-time programme at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, and 22%
studying at the Open University. Grant funding accounts for half the cost of
a typical full-time arts student, and substantially more for part-time
students and students in other disciplines.

There is thus a threat to the capacity of the Cultural and Heritage sector
to access affordable HE level training unless it leads to higher, more
specialized qualifications. At the same time the capacity of higher
education to meet the even the fundable requirements in the cultural sector
may be compromised, as the infrastructure necessary to deliver its
programmes may no longer be viable without ELQ student numbers.

Why is this being done?

John Denham, Minister of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills set
out his reasons in a letter to the Higher Educational Funding Council for
England ­ see the HEFCE Website at <>
The letter identifies ELQs as lower priorities for funding than students
entering Higher Education for the first time, and those progressing to more
specialized, higher qualifications. The money saved (£100-180m) will be
diverted to as yet unspecified projects.

Critics of the proposal, such as the Vice-Chancellors of Birkbeck and the
Open University, have pointed out, however, that these proposals will be
deeply unhelpful to the government¹s other key agendas of maintaining
capacity for training and skills in an ageing workforce, and will also
impact negatively on the opportunities for first-time students.
Opportunities for part-time study would be severely curtailed.

It is the view of the Universities¹ Association of Lifelong Learning that
the policy was devised without full consideration of negative impacts on the
government¹s own priorities. A consultation process is now under way to look
at implementation of the policy. It is important that all stakeholders ­
including the Cultural Sector ­ contribute to ensure that their interests
are adequately met by the arrangements that are finally agreed upon.


Thank you.

All good wishes

Jeannie Cohen and Peter Jones

2007 a level papers

The direct link to recent OCR A level Latin papers is here.

The OCR site has been redesigned since my last visit, and is much more helpfully arranged. Everything you need to know about A level Latin is on that page.

'Caesar's superglue' find

From the Scotsman.  Is Xanten spelled with an 'h'?

in Germany have found a 2,000-year-old glue Roman warriors used to
repair helmets, shields and the other accessories of battle.

“Caesar's superglue” – as it has been dubbed by workers at the Rhine
State Museum in Bonn – was found on a helmet at a site near Xanthen on
the Rhine River where Romans settled before Christ.

Frank Welker, a restorer at the museum, said: “We found the parade
cavalry helmet had been repaired with an adhesive that was still doing
its job.

“This is rightly called some kind of superglue because air, water
and time have not diminished its bonding properties. We haven't mixed
up a batch ourselves yet, but we can thoroughly reccommend it – it
lasts, after all, for 2,000 years.”

The adhesive was made from a mixture of bitumen, cattle fat and bark pitch.