Obituary: Professor Charles Brink

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The Independent Online
CHARLES BRINK was not only a distinguished holder of the Kennedy Chair of Latin at Cambridge, but also a key figure in the moves to reform the teaching of Latin in schools, writes Martin Forrest (further to the obituary by Professor JB Hall, 16 March). Two episodes are worth recalling.

At the AGM of the Classical Association held at Southampton in 1960, Brink called for a radical reform of the O level Latin syllabus and urged a reduction in time spent on translation from English into Latin, and for a more worthwhile programme of study for the majority of pupils who did not intend to pursue their Latin beyond the age of 16. The meeting then voted on a resolution - by 200 votes to 1 - in favour of change.

The second occasion was the meeting in Brink's rooms at Gonville and Caius College, in 1965, at which a proposal for what was to become the Cambridge School Classics Project was hammered out. Brink and other Cambridge dons met with Tony Becher of the Nuffield Foundation and formulated a proposal for a curriculum-development project which would be initially funded by the Nuffield Foundation and had the principal objective of developing a new Latin course appropriate to the changing needs of schools in the mid-20th century. Brink continued to take a lively interest in the resulting Cambridge Latin Course as it developed and in other aspects of school Classics throughout his later life.

The portrait of Professor Brink reproduced with the obituary was painted by Michael Taylor, not Charles Taylor as printed.