Parents’ concern over Stevenage academy’s job advert for Latin teacher

The Barclay Academy in Stevenage. Picture: Dan Mountney

The Barclay Academy in Stevenage. Picture: Dan Mountney - Credit: Archant

Following an academy’s forced takeover of a secondary school in February, a job advert for a Latin teacher to start in September has prompted concern from parents.

Stevenage's Barclay School was taken over by Future Academies in February after it was rated inadequate and placed in special measures by Ofsted in 2016.

Prior to the takeover, staff, parents and pupils were concerned the move - through unnecessary changes to the curriculum, school structure and systems - would damage the significant progress already made, and campaigned against it.

Now Future Academies has advertised for a Latin teacher to start at Barclay in September, prompting concerned parents to question the relevance of such an archaic subject in today's society.

One said: "Rather than focus on enhancing and improving the core subjects, they want to introduce a subject which will never be used in real life. The academy people need to realise this is Stevenage 2019 and not 1800s Eton."

Another said: "I did Latin at school and quite enjoyed it, but this was 40-odd years ago and doing a modern foreign language would have been much better."

The job advert says: "Latin will be taught to all pupils in Year 7, with the aim to offer to all year groups in the next three years, along with an offer of GCSE."

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It adds: "This is an exciting time for Barclay as we have rapidly improved the quality of teaching and learning."

Another significant change to school life will be the uniform, which changes from September.

In a letter to parents, Future Academies' chief executive, Paul Smith, said: "The education we provide our students is designed to grant them freedom from economic and social deprivation and freedom from prejudice and freedom from ignorance. Accordingly, this education also endows them with the freedom to choose, the freedom to question and the freedom to reason.

"As part of this development for the school we will be introducing a new school uniform. The school will have new policies and uniform that reflect our vision.

"I am confident these changes will reflect Barclay Academy's aim of setting the highest standards for its students."

At the time of going to press, Future Academies and new Barclay headteacher Matthew Laban had not responded to the Comet's request for comment.