Professor Mary Beard Lends Her Support to College

The world-renowned classicist, Professor Mary Beard of Newnham College Cambridge, has agreed to lend her support to The Henley College’s Classics and Ancient History department.

Classical subjects have declined in popularity by 14.5% across the UK over the last five years, with a 12% drop between 2017 and 2018. The change compares to a change of -2.6% in all A-Level entries over the same period. (1).

Less than 1% of all A levels taken in 2018 were in classical subjects (2).

Professor Beard said, “It is increasingly rare for both Classics and Ancient History to be offered at A Level in the state sector. The Henley College is to be congratulated on offering such an unusually wide range of subjects, despite years of cuts to the education budget. It is refreshing that, in a climate where the education system seems to be increasingly geared towards science and technology, Henley is determined to continue to promote the arts.

“The culture and art of the ancient world are so much part of our daily modern life that they are often taken for granted. They have inspired great works of art and literature, and fascinated generations of students. I am delighted if my support for the college can help raise the profile of Henley’s course provision, and enable any young person, irrespective of means, to discover and be beguiled by the wonderful world of Classics and Ancient History.”

Connie Hubbard, who studies both Classics and Ancient History at The Henley College said: “Henley was my only choice for A level, simply because it alone offered Classics and Ancient History. I didn’t know what Classics was at first, and was worried I’d need to be able to read Latin and ancient Greek. I was really pleased when learned I could study Greek and Roman epics and plays in English.

“The modern translations are really readable. If you like Greek myths, you’ll love Classics. I have been interested in Ancient History since I began watching Horrible Histories when I was seven – it’s much more fun than studying the Weimar Republic. I am going to study Classics at university and have started teaching myself Latin in my study periods.”

Anyone interested in studying Classics and Ancient History should contact John Bennett at



  1. FFT Education Datalab analysis of JCQ data. Funded by the Nuffield Foundation.
  2. As above and
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