1/ To my mind, what's significant about Williamson and Latin is that he has intervened in the languages-in-secondary-schools debate with the mention of just one language - Latin - in a situation where modern langs are downgraded at univs, not compulsory at GCSE.
2/ The idea that offering Latin to state school students will combat the elitism of private education rests on the idea that imitating private education will do the job. Many people here suggest that getting class sizes down to the sizes in private education would be better.
3/ We have to ask why out of all languages did Williamson select Latin.? Of course it's a 'foundation' language and is the root of all 'Romance' languages but there are others including the foundation language of English - Old English (formerly known as Anglo-Saxon).
4/ Why couldn't a Sec of State education have invited a debate about languages in secondary education in order to see what's ideal, what's possible, what modern and ancient languages can or should be studied and by whom - rather than a one-off 'initiative' about 1 language only?
5/ If there is a longterm project to make Latin a compulsory part of the curriculum at eg KS3, then we would have to ask, what part of the compulsory curriculum has to go to make room for it? If it's just to offer an option at GCSE (which it already is) what's the big deal?
6/ Meanwhile,it's very difficult to get a debate going about the place of the arts in education. 50% of arts courses are being deleted from universities. That will 'tell' secondaries that there is less chance of a route to uni via the arts. Result: diminishing arts thru education
7/ The q. of teaching Latin in schools is full of history to do with false ideas that Latin was deemed to be better than English or that Latin is the root of English or the imperialist idea that Roman history offered a model of how to run an empire. These link to GW's statement.
8/ Of course there is nothing 'wrong' with Latin! It's a great language to study and there's great literature to read. The q. is why did GW select it over all other languages and why did he make this statement now?
9/ The Latin debate makes an ironic entry to q's about national identity! Latin was a language across what is now Europe and it's alive in the Romance languages of Europe and the world. The first roots of English, though, are in Germanic and Scandinavian languages.
10/ To say that English has an important relationship to Latin is of course 100% true but to select it and prioritise it (some say to the tune of £4 million) raises the q. of why overlook the main roots of English which are available to us in poems and non-fiction galore?
11/ Meanwhile it's very hard for thousands of bilingual students to get their knowledge of their home language recognised, validated and rewarded by the exam system. Why hasn't it been possible to do that?

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