An academy trust set up by a former education minister has won a £4 million contract to boost pupils’ interest in Latin.
Future Academies will run the three-year Latin excellence programme after winning a procurement exercise, the Department for Education announced today.
The academy trust was set up by Lord Nash, the former academies minister and current lead government non-executive director. Its chief executive is Paul Smith, a former regional schools commissioner.
Nash remains a controlling member of the trust, as does his wife.
The Latin excellence programme aims to “level up opportunities” for state secondary pupils, and has been modelled on the government’s Mandarin excellence programme – which launched in 2016 and has been rolled out to 75 schools.
Future Academies will soon begin recruiting 20 schools to join the programme before opening the Centre for Latin Excellence in September.
The 20 schools will include seven run by Future, while the rest will be made up of non-selective state schools outside London and the south east which have previously taught Latin, but only to a low number of pupils.
The scheme will specifically target disadvantaged pupils and will grow to include up to 40 schools. Its primary aim is to boost GCSE Latin entries.
A survey from the British Council previously revealed that Latin is only taught at key stage 3 in 2.7 per cent of state schools, compared with around half of independent schools.
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi said that “learning Latin in school should not be the preserve of a fortunate few” and the scheme will help close “the divide between the subjects children can access in state and independent schools”.
According to the new Centre for Latin Excellence website, the programme involves teaching one Latin lesson each week to year 7 pupils, and then increasing teaching over four years.
Schools will receive dedicated funding to cover recruitment, staffing and resources and will have access to “fully-resourced, knowledge-rich curriculum designed to support students at every level”.
Smith added: “This marks one strand of a bigger programme of work that Future Academies’ Curriculum Centre is developing as we look to share the expertise we have developed in knowledge-rich curriculum design for over a decade.”
As well as offering a key stage 3 programme, schools will also be able to access a beginners key stage 4 programme for free.
In the second year of the programme, schools will have the opportunity to receive additional funding to become an regional hub in the second year to “develop a local network of schools teaching Latin in target areas”.