Classics under threat at grammar school

“Grammar schools face being forced to drop A levels in classics and music and run bigger classes after emerging as the biggest losers in a sixth-form funding shake-up, a leading headteacher says.” The article by Greg Hurst in The Times, under the heading “Grammars will axe classics to cope with cuts, says head”, continues to outline how funding also threaten support for Oxbridge and medicine candidates and extra activities.

You can read the article via this link, but it will only show part of it as the rest is protected by the paywall: This post will summarise the parts of the article related to Classics below.

Grammar schools face cuts of up to a quarter and Charlotte Marten, chairwoman of the Grammar Schools Heads Association, says: “I think there is going to be a constricted curriculum in some schools and that’s going to mean fewer minority subjects. Are you going to be able to offer music? For those schools that still offer classics, are you going to be able to afford to do that?”

The funding change relates to the funding system of sixth-form course going from per-course to per-student. Hurst writes: “reducing classics would be especially embarrassing to Mr Gove, whose aim was to deter further education colleges from entering teenagers for short, low-value vocational qualifications. Two years ago the Education Secretary accused his Labour predecessors of a ‘casual dismissal’ of classics and ancient history.”

Marten, headteacher of Rugby High School, highlights some strategy to combat what she termed a “fiscal cliff” in 2015, including combining sixth-form timetables with neighbouring schools and encouraging “flipped” lessons (where students do more independent research with less classroom teaching).


“Although all schools with sixth form face budget cuts, grammars are particularly exposed as may encourage teenagers to take four A-levels” and more students taking science A-levels, which are more expensive. They are also “much less likely to benefit from extra money for teaching poor children” under pupil premium as only 2 percent of grammar school students are entitled compared to 16 percent, which is the national average.

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