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Why are grammar schools so named?

by: Garry Pierrepont (14 March 2017)

With grammar schools in the news again, it made me wonder why they are called grammar schools, rather than, say, elitist schools.

Apparently the name originates from the earliest schools in medieval times, which were connected to monasteries and were called scolae grammaticales (Latin), whose purpose was to teach Latin and Latin grammar. Presumably the name became anglicised over time.

The schools' curriculum broadened beyond Latin, to include Ancient Greek, English, then other European languages before stretching beyond languages to include other traditional subjects such as maths, history, geography.

In the late 19th century a reorganisation of schools meant that grammar schools provided broad secondary education in England and Wales. By this time the title was a misnomer.

The term grammar school declined in popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, being seen as academically elitist when compared with secondary modern schools.



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Comments...

Ref: 247 I had thought the same - but it didn't seem grand enough, somehow. A background in Latin, however, always sounds a bit grand!
Garry - 07:52 15-03-2017
Ref: 246 Fascinating. Much more interesting than what I had assumed - that it was because they taught grammar.
Anne - 16:46 14-03-2017

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