“To study Classics is to study the very foundations of our society: linguistically, politically and culturally. By combining a sharp eye for detail with an ability to interpret and analyse wide-ranging evidence, a young Classicist develops essential skills for life.”

- Alex Thomson, Head of Department


A Classical education has always been an important part of Rugby’s provision. Housed within a unique setting in the oldest part of the School, the Department occupies a suite of rooms which includes Dr Arnold’s original schoolroom, Upper Bench, and the very well stocked Arnold Library.

We are keen to emphasise the traditional values of language and literature as well as an understanding of the historical contexts in Latin and Greek, whilst also encouraging an appreciation of literature, history and culture in Classical Civilisation.

The Department runs a Classical Society - The Arnold Society - with visiting speakers (usually from top universities) once a term followed by drinks and dinner as well as less formal, school-centred meetings. Pupils are also encouraged to host the society themselves, speaking on any Classical topic that interests them.

Lower School pupils are invited to the Junior Arnold Society for events such as a balloon debate to find out the greatest hero of all (with the characters acted by teachers) and a variety of talks by older pupils and staff. There is usually a Classical offering at the Summer Arts Festival with   ‘Dido and Aeneas’, ‘Oedipus’, ‘The Festival of Dionysus’  and ‘Horrible Histories’ produced over the last few years as well as a workshop on the Greek tragic chorus last year. We run a trip every year to a variety of classical lands – recently Italy, Greece, Tunisia and Sicily. We also take regular trips to lectures, plays and museums closer to home.

We offer Latin, Greek and Classical Civilisation throughout the school following the OCR examination syllabus in every subject. 

We use Taylor’s Latin to GCSE/Greek to GCSE books in the Middle School, supplemented with other resources.  A number of our pupils go on to read Classical courses at a variety of universities (Bristol, Durham, Exeter, KCL, Manchester to name just a few) and we have several Oxbridge candidates each year with a good success rate.