We are living in a Climate Emergency - Latin won't help us!

Natasha Pavey
August 5, 2021

Earlier this week it was announced that Latin will be introduced at 40 state secondary schools in England. A £4m Department for Education scheme will initially be rolled out across 40 schools as part of a four year pilot programme for 11 to 16 year olds starting in September 2022. Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson said the subject is not ‘for the privileged few’ and has keen ambitions to end the subjects 'elitist' status.

I understand the benefits of learning this language and bridging the gap between private and state education but I can’t deny that reading these headlines has made me angry. While only 4% of students feel that they know enough about climate change, surely the focus should be on climate education: an education for the future not stuck in the past learning a language that bears no significance in the present day. 

Gavin Williamson says Latin ‘can bring so many benefits to young people’. Young people need climate education and we need it now. Recent flooding in London shows that the climate crisis is now quite literally on our doorsteps. By 2030, huge parts of London will be prone to consistent flooding. Flooded tube stations, streets and homes will be a constant in young people's lives, meaning that they won’t be able to attend their Latin class and enjoy all those wonderful ‘benefits’ even if they wanted to!

We are living in a climate emergency. When is our education system going to reflect that?