If you thought Latin was elitist, try speaking to the pupils of Sacred Heart Primary School in Bridgeton, Glasgow.
They have been learning the language as part of a project to teach the subject at schools in more deprived areas of the city and it has confirmed that Latin is everywhere and sine qua non to a good understanding of modern languages and grammar.
Liz Gonzalez, the headteacher at the school, has been particularly struck by the impact on her primary seven pupils who took part. Not only are they more confident in modern language classes, she has also seen improvements in their English too.This added bonus of learning Latin has been known for many years but the teaching of the subject in state schools in Scotland has declined dramatically since the 1970s.
The project, organised by Glasgow University, could help reverse that trend. Latin will never be taught in every school but if it can help pupils achieve better grades in other subjects - as has been seen at Sacred Heart - then it should be available to as many pupils as possible. The quid pro quo could be pupils who love Classical literature and mythology but do better in the classroom too.
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