Lessons from past can aid modern pupils

THE school term starting reminded me of a protest made 52 years ago by the headmistress of Ledsham Court School that I attended in Hastings.

The school took local pupils as well as many from around the world and the head took her responsibility to provide us with genuine international education very seriously, as the school and its curriculum were expanding.

She was let down in this aim for us when she received the Oxbridge notification requiring the teaching of Latin, to give pupils access to the highest levels of UK secondary education.

Being very strong willed she was used to complaining on our behalf at the use of outdated educational policies.

In 1958 the first Latin teacher was sacked quickly, which initially surprised us.

We did notice that she then took on a French teacher who also taught Latin and never again had a teacher just for Latin.

Being a head in the 1950s and thus a teacher in the pre-war period, she was aware of the relevance of Esperanto.

It was used in pre-war schools, having been recognised at the League of Nations as necessary for affordable international education, to avoid a repeat of the disaster and abuse of science in the First World War.

With the holding of the national Esperanto meeting at Eastbourne College this year, the memories of her protest on our behalf in Hastings, against an outdated educational policy came back again, giving the opportunity to discuss how much progress has been made in genuinely affordable international education for all children everywhere.

This has much more relevance for us today, now that we also cannot afford so easily, some of the important things that we would like for our children, and so are having to assess just what is the most important educational advance to achieve for them as well as for all children everywhere.

MIKE WADE

Watts Palace Cottage

Broad Oak

Rye