THE first number of a new magazine called "Sixth Form Opinion " (publications dates June 20, October 20 and February 20), strikes me as being of a very high standard indeed. It is written entirely by sixth-formers. girls and boys. with one guest-contributor, a don. writing about the pros and cons of compulsory Latin. The three editors are all Sherborne School sixth-formers, but the contributors come from schools over the length and breadth of England, from Redruth Boys' Grammar School, Cornwall, to Ross High School. East Lothian, and from Weston super Mare Grammar School, Somerset, to Chelmsford High School, Essex. (As reported in some editions of the 'CH.' last week, one of the star contributors is Adrian Gratwick, Head Boy of St. Brendan's College, Bristol).
WHEN the Sherborne School editors first had their idea of launching a magazine for sixth-formers, they circularised the Sixth Forms of all schools with a questionnaire, and also asked for contributions of all kinds and for statements of opinion on strongly-felt issues. Answers to the questionnaire indicated that 45.4 per cent. of sixthformers would like Latin abolished as a compulsory subject; 57.2 per cent. would have preferred to learn Russian to Latin; 46.2 per cent.
a would prefer co-educational a would prefer co-educational
co-ed; 35.8 school to a non co per cent. would prefer a hoarding to a day school; 59.9 per cent. think that religio instruction us instructio should be a compulsory part of the school curriculum; 72.2 per cent. regard themselves as Christians; 34 per cent. would like to see a neutral
Britain; 75.2 per cent, would like to see a united Europe; and 38 per cent. would like to sec National Service reintroduced.
'An escapement' riONCERNING t h e 11.-al "regarding oneself as
a Christian " question, Mill Hill School sixth-former sent the some further research: editors "When the undenominational deists were asked to expand on their belief the following attitude emerged. They thought that the Christian church had been corrupted by modern life and saw their religion as an attempt to escape from convention. Their religion was aimed against materialism, and the corruption of society. "They believed in some sort of finite deity and concluded that everybody, in the end, worshipped the same god; only in different ways. There is, therefore, a m moderate Beatnik for of philosophy, although they realise that their religion must be impractical in its total withdrawal from materialism . . . " Which puts Christianity on the side of convention, materialism and the corruption of society! What are we to do?
ON the Latin controversy an interesting point is made by a Bristol Grammar School contributor—namely, that much more should be taught about the Greek and Roman ways of life, as a companion to the teaching of .the Greek and Latin languages. "The boy who crams Latin for university entrance hears nothing of Roman Law; or of the process of reasoning which led the Ionians to formulate theories of evolution and atomic structure twenty-six centuries ago; or of the birth of democracy. If he is told anything, it is to adulate Caesar, that prototype of Hitler. In fact the examination is restricted to a scratching of the language which reveals hardly a glimpse of the ancient world .
DAY more than TODAY we need to
hold on to those qualities of scepticism, tolerance, clearsightedness and liberal behaviour which the Greeks and Romans left us, as well as their salutary examples of what decaying morals portend. Surely it is more important. especially for those whose contact with the Classics is not likely to be long, to know what these people said, than to struggle ineffectively to copy the way in which they said it , . . "Presumably the universities by requiring Latin at 0-Level are seeking evidence of a candidate's awareness of the past . . . What the examiners seek would be more accurately gauged by that Cinderella subject, 'Greek Civilisation'. By substituting this in the university statutes, the understandable but ludicrous notion of Classics in the sixth form held by many scientists would be corrected; interest in the languages as such would. so far from dying, revive . . ." Among the brief expressions of opinion on burning questions of struck by
the day, I was most st the
strength and persuasive writing of the one against capital punishment and the one for England joining the Common Market, To return to education as such, I can do no better than end with the words of an American boy studying at Christ's Hospital: "No system, whether British or American, can educate the student; the student must educate, or at least want to educate, himself within the framework of a particular system. The system which inspires this desire has succeeded: that which does not, has failed."
"Sixth Form Opinion" ran be obtained from the publishers, "British Periodicals, Ltd.." 46/47 Chancery Lane, London. W.C.2.
To a teacher
WILL my school-master correspondent who wrote to me about the National Catechetical Centre. and about the revised syllabus in RI classes at his school, please write to me again giving his address? I have received a letter to be forwarded to him, and find that I threw his original letter away after quoting from it in my column of June 23.