From the Guardian:

The shadow higher education minister, Boris Johnson, will be invited to change his suit for a toga this evening as part of the campaign to save ancient history A-level.

The request will be made in Latin by sixth formers from the Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, who will be wearing togas as they present him at the House of Commons with a 4,000-signature petition opposing plans to scrap the course.

The meeting with Mr Johnson, who is also president of the joint association of classical teachers, will be conducted entirely in Latin.

The teenagers will urge Mr Johnson to do all he can to halt the recommendation from the examination board OCR to abolish the qualification as part of its plans to reorganise four classics A-levels.

A spokeswoman from the 700-pupil independent girls' school said this morning: "We have a very strong classics department here including an ancient Greek breakfast club every week. The girls feel it would be a shame if the ancient history A-level were to go as it gives them a good background in all sorts of things such as language and the history of Europe and civilization."

Ahead of the meeting this evening Mr Johnson told "I have already met with OCR and they are going to see if they can come up with a solution, some sort of deal, but I'm not that confident.

"I think they think that ancient history isn't a moneyspinner for them."

Mr Johnson said he was concerned that if ancient history was abolished as an A-level the classics would increasingly disappear from the state sector and only be available in a few select independent schools.

He said: "At a time when Latin is becoming increasingly popular in state schools I thought that this was the start of a bandwagon beginning to roll again for the classics and is another reason why it's important that ancient history remains.

"It makes no sense to kick away yet another ladder of opportunity up to university and to reduce the options of pupils who want to study this wonderful subject."

The examination board OCR announced in March that it wanted to replace its four existing classics subjects - ancient history, classical civilisation, Greek and Latin - with new models.

Under its proposals, ancient history would disappear as a subject in its own right. Instead, students would choose from four new A-levels: in Latin, classical Greek, classical civilisation and a new subject title, classics.

The OCR said that it was committed to offering classics at A-level but wanted to design qualifications that would "flourish" over the next decade.

The new qualifications would offer students more flexibility to specialise in the areas of classics that interest them, it said.

For the first time, students studying Latin or Greek, for example, would be able to combine units of languages with units of literature in translation and historical units.

Similar content to the present ancient history qualification would appear in the classical civilisation units.

According to the OCR's latest figures, ancient history A-level was taken by 530 students in 2006, while 2,350 sat classical civilisation. Some 183 sat classical Greek while 927 students took Latin.

The recommendations, which followed public consultation, are now with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority which needs to approve them before they are be introduced.

If approval is given later this year students could start to study for the new exams in 2008.

A spokesperson for the QCA said: "At the moment we're still in discussions with OCR. No decision has been made, and there's no set timetable."