Written evidence submitted by Judith Mossman,
Professor of Classics, University of Nottingham |
1. As a former Chair of the Joint Association
of Classical Teachers Classical Civilisation Committee I write
to express my concern at the omission of Classical Civilisation
from the list of humanities subjects which are deemed acceptable
for the English Baccalaureate. It is excellent news that Ancient
History does appear on the list, but if Classical Civilisation
does not, then a number of schools, where it has kept classics
alive over the years will drop it (up to 40% of schools have said
they will have no choice but to do so), and thus close off for
far too many pupils an important route to the benefits of a classical
education. This is, I trust, an unintended consequence of this
reform which you will be anxious to avoid.
2. You need have no fears that classical civilisation
is an insufficiently rigorous subject: the syllabus as presently
taught is extremely wide-ranging and provides opportunities to
study substantial numbers of classical set books in detail, aspects
of ancient history, and a substantial period of classical art
history as well. This interdisciplinary approach is an excellent
preparation for a university classics course, and promotes the
development of critical thinking and the ability to call on evidence
of various kinds for the understanding of classical culture.
3. Another matter for concern is the absence
of the WJEC exam from the E-Bac. This is an excellent exam which
is sat by over 4,000 pupils and which has helped many schools
recover Latin, an aim which I know you have been anxious to promote.
4. I therefore ask you most earnestly to add
Classical Civilisation to the list of humanities subjects and
add WJEC to the list of acceptable examinations.
5. Please believe that these changes, far from
undermining your overall project to restore academic rigour to
our schools, will materially assist in so doing, and will strengthen
the other laudable measures you are taking to harness the power
of classical subjects to improve educational standards.
21 March 2011