Teaching Latin in our schools is not a priority

What do you think about plans to teach Latin at 40 state schools?

There are about 3,500 secondary schools in England so I wonder how they’ll be chosen. I read of this idea just as I’d been looking through Labour research on rising class sizes.

If we can’t reduce class sizes or find the cash to pay for recommendations from the Government’s own Education Tsar, how on earth can Latin be a priority?

Reducing class sizes was a great Labour achievement but numbers have risen steadily since 2010. In some cases, youngsters are taught in classes of 40, 50 and even 60. Large classes mean those struggling are often overlooked and gifted and talented children rarely get the attention they need to achieve their true potential.

That’s why smaller classes, small group tutoring and mental health support are important.

Labour’s latest proposals come from two of our brightest shadow ministers, both of whom have had to overcome difficulties. Peter Kyle left school without qualifications, was placed in a remedial class and did A Levels, university, and a doctorate starting at age 25. He was eventually diagnosed as dyslexic, something missed throughout his schooling.

Wes Streeting is the product of a single parent family, brought up with free school meals on a council estate. He not only wants to reduce class sizes but last week launched his 10 by 10 plan.

His ambition is to tackle areas where children miss out most. By age 10 he wants them to have tried a competitive sport; had the chance to learn a musical instrument; be able to swim; take part in drama; visit the seaside and countryside; experience museums; galleries and heritage sites; and take part in camping trips or residentials.

So many take these things for granted but money for such activities, in state schools, has virtually dried up. Help for dyslexia is hard to come by and free school meals require a footballer to act before the PM recognises the importance.

People sometimes ask what Labour would do. I’ve got nothing against Latin but compared to Wes and Peter’s plans, suus non prius.

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