Latin will be dead in English schools within 25 years because a Government-funded IT project has "stalled", it has been predicted.

State schools will stop teaching Latin within 12 years and independent schools will abandon the subject within the next 25, said Will Griffiths, director of the Cambridge Schools Classics Project.

Ministers pumped about £4.5 million into developing software for courses aimed at encouraging more pupils to study Latin at secondary school.

But the software project, which includes films, tests, and interactive games, has been hit by a series of technical problems, he said.

The Cambridge Schools Classics Project, set up by Cambridge University to promote Latin and Greek studies in schools, provided the subject expertise for the software.

Mr Griffiths said the scheme had been due for national roll-out after revisions were made in 2002.

But he went on: "It's that five-month revision project that has stalled.

"We are 39 months on and hearing that there are technical problems, but it will be rolled out shortly.

"The aim to get Latin back in schools will fail.

" In state secondary (schools), we are looking at Latin being out in 12 years and in the independent sector in 25 years."

He said the scheme had involved 50 schools over the past five years and trials had seen significant increases in the number of students taking Latin at GCSE.

The Times' Educational Supplement reported the software was being developed by Granada Learning, but it was proving incompatible with the computers used in schools.

Mr Griffiths said schools were reporting computers freezing and crashing when they tried to use the discs.

A spokesman for the Department for Education and Skills issued a statement on behalf of the Government and Granada Learning.

It said: "We are rolling out a multi-media Latin course in secondary schools designed to make Latin available to schools where opportunities to learn that subject might not have been available before.

"The resource has been an immense undertaking with more than 900 different activities ranging from documentaries and films to formal assessments and interactive games that enhance learning."

Last month, the last remaining exam board in England - OCR - offering GCSEs in Latin announced it was reducing the number of words pupils would have to learn to pass, as well as cuts in coursework.