THE Mayor of London has said more state schools should offer Latin lessons – and one teacher heartily agrees with him.

Reporter CLAIRE HACK talks to Trinity Catholic High School’s head of languages Susana Diez and some of her pupils on learning the language of the ancient Romans.

Latin is no longer the sole preserve of independent school pupils and dusty academics, Miss Diez said – it has become accessible to everyone thanks to modern teaching techniques.

She said: “Anybody can do it.

“I learned before we started – I went through the course and made sure I was fully familiar with what I would be teaching.”

The “e-learning” course is offered to Year Eight and Nine pupils and is taught between 4pm and 5pm on a Monday afternoon, using computer software and textbooks.

Running for the last three years, the one-year course currently has 14 students, who have all gone through an application process to explain why they want to study Latin.

James Collicott, 13, a Year Eight pupil, said: “You don’t just learn the language.

“You learn some of the historical facts about the Romans as well.”

Classmate Louise McNabb, 12, added: “I’m doing it because I’m learning French as well.

“Because it comes from Latin, it makes it a bit easier.”

The students will undergo exams in the same way they would for any other language but do not have to do a spoken test.

Miss Diez said: “It’s done slightly differently in each school.

“We don’t offer the oral as I’m not specialist Latin teacher but this is designed to be accessible to schools that don’t have a specialist.”

But it can sometimes be difficult, 12-year-old Phoebe Lim admitted.

She said: “Sometimes it’s a bit confusing – there are lots of tenses to learn.”

Morin Jebanesam, 13, added: “My mum wants me to be a translator when I’m older – I’m learning every language possible.”

The students will finish their course this summer and will earn a certificate for passing their exams.

Miss Diez added she would recommend the course, which uses the daily life of a fictional family in Pompeii as a tool to help children understand, to other schools.

She said: “I would definitely encourage other people to teach Latin.”

What do YOU think? Should Latin be offered in more state schools? Call 07768 507 739 or email with your views.