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After studying Classics at Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge, Arlene qualified as a teacher. She taught for more than a decade in a range of schools in the UK and internationally, leading departments and assuming school-wide responsibilities. She holds a doctorate in Classics education and is a specialist in educational research, policy and practice.

At King’s she works with Professor Edith Hall to (1) research the role of Classical Civilisation and Ancient History in UK curricula and, (2) to raise the profile and status of these subjects as viable options for study in UK schools.

In addition to her role at King’s, she is a member of the Classics Faculty in Oxford where she leads the Classics in Communities project which seeks to understand what impact the learning of Latin has on children’s cognitive development.

Arlene has been the recipient of numerous prestigious international awards including a Fulbright scholarship, an Erskine Fellowship, a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship and she received a ‘Teaching Star’ award from the Institute of International Education in New York. She collaborates with international colleagues on a number of education projects in Europe, the USA and Australia.

Arlene has an extensive list of publications in the areas of pedagogy, curriculum policy and international education. She regularly provides training for teachers in the UK and around the world.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Access to Classics education in UK schools and colleges
  • Classical subjects in curriculum policy
  • The learning and teaching of Classics in the 21st century
  • Classics and employability
  • Rhetoric, citizenship and oracy education

Expertise and public engagement

Arlene is the Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded ‘Improving Access to Classical Studies in schools and museums’ project which is a sector-leading collaboration between museums, exam boards, teachers, academics and communities. She provides expert advice to a number of curriculum and assessment organisations around the world including the International Baccalaureate, OCR, Cambridge International Examinations, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, the Irish National Council for Curriculum and Assessment and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Arlene is the Outreach Officer, trustee and Council member of the Classical Association, the national subject association for professional Classics educators in the UK, and she chairs the Classics Development Group at the British Academy.

Arlene shares her knowledge and experience with various organisations; as a council member of the British Curriculum Forum, as a member of the US-UK Fulbright Commission Alumni Advisory Council, as the sole Classicist on the British Academy’s strategic national committee for languages, on the Roman Society’s Roman Studies committee, as a member of the OCR consultative forum for Classics and as a liveryman of the Worhshipful Company of Educators of London.

As an AHRC Policy Fellow, she is regularly is an expert advisor to key stakeholders in Westminster, Whitehall and the devolved administrations. She speaks regularly at the Institute for Government and writes for the Universities Policy Engagement Network.


The value of studying Classics in the 21st century, Classical rhetoric, Classics education and employability.


Books, chapters and articles:



Podcasts and Videos

In Preparation:

  • Holmes-Henderson, A. (forthcoming) Inclusive Classics: innovative pedagogies in schools and museums, Routledge
  • Holmes-Henderson, A., Hall, E. and Corke-Webster, J. (forthcoming), Teaching Classical Civilisation and Ancient History in schools, Liverpool University Press
  • Holmes-Henderson, A., Zmavc, J. and Kaldahl, A-G. (in preparation) ‘Oracy, rhetoric and citizenship: curricular innovations from Scotland, Slovenia and Norway’, for journal special issue.