Dr Arlene Holmes-Henderson

Senior Research Fellow in Classics Education


MA (Oxon), PGCE (Cantab), Ed.D. (Glas)

Academic Background

I was an undergraduate at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford, where I read Literae Humaniores. Thereafter I won a scholarship to study at Harvard University. I returned to the UK and pursued postgraduate studies in Classics Education at Trinity College, Cambridge and at the University of Glasgow. My doctoral thesis examined the role of Classical rhetoric and responsible citizenship in contemporary education.

I have been awarded a number of international fellowships. I was a Fulbright Visiting Professor at the University of Hawaii, a Churchill Fellow in Australia and an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. I am also the recipient of a Teaching Star award from the Institute of International Education in New York. I am currently collaborating with the Classics department at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa on a project to boost children’s literacy through the study of Classics via the Oxford-Africa initiative. In 2020, I won the Vice-Chancellor’s Education award for the Classics in Communities project.

I am the Outreach Officer of the Classical Association and a steering group member of the British Curriculum Forum. I am a member of the Roman Studies Committee of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. I chair the Classics Development Group and sit on the US-UK Fulbright Commission's Alumni Council.

Research Interests

I research the value of, and access to, a Classical education in the twenty-first century. I am the principal investigator on the Classics in Communities project (https://classicsincommunities.web.ox.ac.uk) where I investigate what impact the learning of Latin and Greek has on children’s cognitive development.

I also research the intersection of Classical rhetoric, oracy and citizenship education. I work on the rhetorical theories of Aristotle, Cicero and Quintilian. I am currently contributing to a range of pedagogical and academic projects where this expertise is directly benefitting teachers, speechwriters, politicians and policymakers.

I also research Classics and employability and regularly lecture on this subject alongside colleagues from the Careers service.

I am a University Policy Leader, championing policy engagement with Humanities research. I am a Knowledge Exchange Fellow at The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities.


Holmes-Henderson, A. and Watts, B. (2021) ‘What grades are needed to study Classical subjects at UK universities?’, Journal of Classics Teaching, 22, 43, 1-7 https://doi.org/10.1017/S2058631021000210

Swallow, P. and Holmes-Henderson, A. (2021) ‘Working towards fairer access to Classical subjects in schools: the Advocating Classics Education (ACE) project’, Council of University Classics Departments Equality Diversity and Inclusion Blog, 24th May 2021, https://cucdedi.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/working-towards-fairer-access-to-classical-subjects-in-schools-the-advocating-classics-education-ace-project/

Holmes-Henderson, A. and Kelly, K. (2021b) ‘Classical connections: enriching English teaching with help from the Greeks and Romans’, Litdrive blog, 2nd May 2021, https://litdrive.org.uk/classical-connections-enriching-english-teaching...

Holmes-Henderson, A. and Kelly, K. (2021a) ‘Ancient and modern languages in primary schools’, Oxford Humanities blog, 21st April 2021, https://www.humanities.ox.ac.uk/article/ancient-and-modern-languages-in-primary-schools#/ and https://www.thefutureoflanguages.org/blog/acientandmodernlangsinprimary

Hunt, S. and Holmes-Henderson, A. (2021) ‘A level Classics poverty. Classical subjects in schools in England: access, attainment and progression’, CUCD Bulletin, 50, 1-26. https://cucd.blogs.sas.ac.uk/files/2021/02/Holmes-Henderson-and-Hunt-Classics-Poverty.docx.pdf

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2021d) ‘Classical subjects in English schools: Confronting inequalities of access’, British Educational Research Association blog, 14 July 2021, https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/classical-subjects-in-english-schools-confronting-inequalities-of-access

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2021c) ‘Primary Greek’, ARGO, 13, 40-42.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2021b) ‘Developing multiliteracies through Classical mythology in British classrooms’, in L. Maurice (ed.) Our Mythical Education: The Reception of the Classical World in Formal Education 1900-2020, University of Warsaw Press, 139-154. https://www.wuw.pl/product-pol-14887-Our-Mythical-Education-The-Reception-of-Classical-Myth-Worldwide-in-Formal-Education-1900-2020-PDF.html

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2021a) Engaging with policymakers as a researcher in the Arts and Humanities: a guide to how, what and why, Universities Policy Engagement Network Blog, https://www.upen.ac.uk/blogs/?action=story&id=172

Holmes-Henderson, A. and M. Musié (2020d) ‘Staging the Archive: Classics in Communities’, The Archive for the Performance of Greek and Roman Drama podcast, Oxford, http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk/digital-resources/podcast/episode-7

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2020c) ‘Surviving the infodemic – teaching students to read between the lines’, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust blog, 13th October 2020, https://www.churchillfellowship.org/news-views/blogs/teaching-students-to-read-between-the-lines

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2020b) ‘Teaching critical literacy in schools: a research-informed approach’ in C. Coyle (ed.) Identifying Fake News: critical literacy and the school library, School Library Association, Swindon.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2020a) ‘What’s it like training in England but teaching in Scotland?’, Quinquennium, 8 January 2020, https://www.quinquennium.com/whats-it-like-training-in-england-but-teaching-in-scotland/

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2019b) ‘Book review: The Six Secrets of Intelligence’, Times Educational Supplement, 29th September 2019, https://www.tes.com/news/book-review-six-secrets-intelligence

White, B. and Holmes-Henderson, A. (2019a) ‘Latin Lovers’, Blueprint, Trinity Term 2019, 7.

Holmes-Henderson, A., Hunt, S. and Musié, M. (eds.) (2018e) Forward with Classics. Classical languages in schools and communities, Bloomsbury academic. Publication date: 9th August 2018, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forward-Classics-Classical-Languages-Communities/dp/1474295959

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2018d) ‘Oxford-Africa Classics Research Collaboration’, Oxford University Faculty of Classics Blog 19th July 2018, https://www.classics.ox.ac.uk/article/oxford-africa-classics-research-collaboration

Holmes-Henderson, A. and Tempest, K. (2018c) ‘Classics and twenty-first-century skills’ in A. Holmes-Henderson, S. Hunt and M. Musié (eds.) Forward with Classics. Classical languages in schools and communities, Bloomsbury academic.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2018b) ‘A winning formula: Classical rhetoric for oracy education’, Teaching Citizenship, 42.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2018a) ‘Artistic licence: how learning Latin could change your life’, University of Oxford Arts Blog 31st January 2018. http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/arts-blog/artistic-licence-how-learning-latin-could-change-your-life and The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities Blog 16th February 2018, https://www.torch.ox.ac.uk/article/how-learning-latin-could-change-your-life

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2017d) ‘Classics in communities resources for “non-specialist” teachers of Latin and/or Ancient Greek’, Classical Association Blog, 21st November 2017. http://theclassicalassociation.blogspot.com/2017/11/classics-in-communities-resources-for.html

Holmes-Henderson (2017c) ‘Classical subjects in schools: a comparative study of New Zealand and the United Kingdom‘ in D. Burton, S. Perris and J. Tatum (eds.), Athens to Aotearoa: Greece and Rome in New Zealand Literature and Society, Victoria University Wellington Press, 326-346. http://vup.victoria.ac.nz/athens-to-aotearoa-greece-and-rome-in-new-zealand-literature-and-society/

Holmes-Henderson (2017b) ‘Advocating Classics Education’, Omnibus, 72, 4.

Hall, E. and Holmes-Henderson, A. (2017a) ‘Advocating Classics Education: a new national project’, Journal of Classics Teaching, Vol. 18, 36, 25-28. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2058631017000198

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2016d) ‘Bringing Cambridge IGCSE Latin to life in Rome’, Cambridge Outlook, 23, 24.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2016c) ‘Growing Greek in Schools: from gorillas to talking vases’, ARGO, 4, 16-17. http://www.drarlenehh.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Argo-Gorilla-Greek.pdf

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2016b) ‘Teaching Latin and Greek in primary classrooms: the Classics in Communities Project’, Journal of Classics Teaching, Vol. 17, 33, 50-53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S2058631016000131

Holmes-Henderson (2016a) ‘Responsible citizenship and critical skills in Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence: the contribution of Classical rhetoric to democratic deliberation’, in P.Carr, P.Thomas, B. Porfilio and J. Gorlewski (eds.), Democracy and decency: what does education have to do with it?‘, Information Age Publishers, 213-228.

‘Holmes-Henderson, A. and Mitropoulos, A. (2016) ‘A celebration of Greek language and culture education in the UK’, Journal of Classics Teaching, Vol. 17, 34, 55-57. https://doi.org/10.1017/S2058631016000258

Holmes-Henderson , A. (2015) ‘The Classics in Communities project’, Oxford University Faculty of Classics newsletter, 6. https://classicsincommunities.web.ox.ac.uk/

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2014b) Reading between the lines: improving the UK’s critical literacy education, Winston Churchill Memorial Trust, https://www.churchillfellowship.org/news-views/blogs/teaching-students-to-read-between-the-lines which informed the National Literacy Trust/APPG Literacy’s Parliamentary Commission Report on Critical Media Literacy and Fake News (2018) https://literacytrust.org.uk/research-services/research-reports/fake-news-and-critical-literacy-final-report/

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2014a) ‘Classical pedagogy: a postcard from Hawaii’, Cloelia, 4, 54.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2012) ‘Classics Teachers on Tour’, Journal of Classics Teaching, Vol. 26, 32-33.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2009a) ‘Learning to love Latin the modern way’, Private Schools Revealed , 19th June 2009, 8-14.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2009b) ‘Passport to a world of opportunity – now you’re talking’, The Scotsman newspaper, 29th September 2009.

Holmes-Henderson (2009c) ‘Amamus Latin’, Secondary Headship, 2nd November 2009, 11-17.

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2008) ‘Gifted Girls and Groovy Greek’, Journal of Classics Teaching, Vol. 14, 4-6. http://www.drarlenehh.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Holmes-Henderson-A.-_2008_.-Gifted-girls-and-groovy-Greek.-JCT-14-4-6..pdf

Holmes-Henderson, A. (2007) ‘Skill to do comes of doing: Surviving the Cambridge Classics PGCE 2005-2006’, Journal of Classics Teaching, Vol. 10, 6-8.