Coronavirus: cancellation of GCA programme

In view of the developing public health situation and in line with government advice regarding meetings and public events, we have, with regret, decided to cancel all GCA events for the current season (i.e., until July 2020 at least).

We will post further information when we feel able to offer our activities again, and meanwhile wish everyone well in these difficult times.

GCA Newsletter April 2018


Snow Day! – in Athens

Dear Members and Colleagues,

I have always thought that “Spring” is the wrong name for a term which runs through January, February and early March. The challenging weather conditions of last term would certainly seem to have made “Winter Term” more appropriate. Perhaps we will all emerge tougher and more ready for our first serious taste of the new GCSEs and A-levels, as imposed at breakneck (ours) speed by The Talented Mr Gove.     

Review of “Spring” Term

The inclement weather made the GCA rather like Hannibal: after some early successes, the snow did for a number of our promising elephants.  An early success in our campaign to bolster our fighting resources came in the G.C.S.E. Conference, featuring Mrs Anne Mackay, from University College London, speaking on Virgil: Aeneid 4 and 6,  and Professor Stephen Oakley, from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, speaking on  Boudicca and the Druids. Both speakers were excellent and their wisdom, advice and handouts were very gratefully received by (around two hundred) teachers and pupils alike. Notre Dame School, marshalled by Juliana Costa-Veysey, were excellent hosts and we thank them greatly. The Latin and Greek Reading Competition, very kindly and excellently staged by Guildford High School, led by Andrew James, attracted a large and talented field, who gave the judges many “good-to-have” problems in separating them. The scheduled Teach Meet, alas, curled up and passed away in the Alpine snow.

Looking forward to this “Summer” term (which will allegedly begin with “Mediterranean” weather)

These are the GCA summer dates for your diary and planning:

  • Our May Talk, on Tuesday 8th May, will very kindly be hosted by Tormead school, Guildford. Professor Chris Carey from KCL  will discuss Herodotus’ competition with Homer. Please contact Sheila Conway ( if you plan to bring a group.
  • Tormead School are also hosting CPD on teaching the new Classical Civilisation Specification (including a look at some useful resources, on 15th May, 5.30 to 7pm. New and non-specialist teachers especially welcome.
  • The Teach Meet will be on Tuesday 12th  June at St Catherine’s School, Bramley. Steven Hunt from Cambridge will discuss practical ways to use the CLC resources in our teaching. Please contact me ( if you are interested in coming along.
  • Our annual Certamen, will be held on Tuesday 26th June at RGS. Please contact Sheila Conway ( for entry details.
  • Our AGM will be on Tuesday 3rd July, at the Bull’s Head in Ewhurst, starting at 6pm to allow ample time for wining, dining and skittling. Please let Glenda Sewell know ( if you would like to come. You are all invited most cordially.

With best wishes to you all for this term and Exam season, and wishing you a lovely summer at the end of it all.

Yours sincerely,

Ian Peel


GCA Newsletter September 2017

Maenad Cup, courtesy of British Museum

Maenad Cup, courtesy of British Museum



Dear Members and Colleagues,

I hope you have all had a great summer and are ready for one of the more challenging academic years we have faced for some years. Many of us will begin teaching a substantially changed, new syllabus for Classical Civilisation GCSE and A-Level for the first time this year. We are also still adapting to the new Latin and Greek specifications which we started last year.

You will find enclosed the Programme Card with details of our events for the upcoming year, all designed to support and enrich our teaching, whilst at the same time promoting and celebrating the vibrant joy of Classics. This term’s events feature some great speakers, offering different ways of thinking about the Classical world, and are hosted in Guildford alternately by RGS and GHS, then by Notre Dame School  in Cobham, all of whom we thank in advance for their generosity.

At the Opening Party, Jerry Stoner, from Cambridge University, will be helping us to break out from the elitist view of the Roman world, which we inevitably get from great literature, and showing us instead how to “find ordinary Romans” and look at Rome “from the bottom up”.  RGS Guildford, Tuesday 26th September, 7.30 for 8.00 pm.

At our Schools Talk (intended primarily, but not exclusively, for younger students) William Lawrence will be talking about the Odyssey. So that GHS can prepare the right number of their legendary cookies, please let Sheila Conway know if you intend to bring a group to this popular event []. Guildford High School, Tuesday 10th October, 4.30 for 5pm.

At our Sixth Form Lecture, Dr Thomas Mannack from Oxford University will be arguing that it is only from pottery, not literature, that we can get  an authentic view of the life of Athenians. Royal Grammar School, Guildford, Tuesday 7th November, 5.30 – 7.00pm.

At this term’s ‘Teach Meet’ Jeremy Antrich will be giving us some pointers on how to coach our youngsters to read Latin authentically, and possibly then triumphantly at next term’s Latin Reading Competition. Notre Dame School, Cobham, Wednesday 15th November, 5.30 for 6pm.

Next term’s events to get into your school and personal calendars asap are:

  • G.C.S.E. Conference, featuring Mrs Anne Mackay, UCL, speaking on Virgil: Aeneid 4 and 6,  and Prof Stephen Oakley, Emmanuel College, Cambridge, on  Boudica and the Druids. Notre Dame School, Cobham, KT11 1HA, Thursday 25th January, 1.45 – 4.30pm,


  • Teach Meet – A session to support new and non-specialist teachers of Classics. Guildford High School, Guildford, GU1 1SJ,  Tuesday 27th February, 5.30 for 6pm. 



  • Latin and Greek Reading Competition. Guildford High School, Guildford, GU1 1SJ, Thursday 8th March, 2.00 – 5.15pm. ** Entry forms will be included in the January mailing **



Finally, I would like to ask any members who have moved schools to make sure they contact Marian Wernham, our membership secretary [], to ensure she has a current address. Your membership subscriptions fund the free events and the printing costs et al. of running and promoting the association and all its events. Please pay your subscription by 31st October, and please complete a gift aid form, should you be eligible to do so, if you are in any doubt whether you  have completed one before, to ensure that we have up-to-date records of members able and willing to gift aid their subscriptions. As you know, this significantly enhances the value of your subscription. Please accept our thanks in advance.

I look forward to seeing you at as many of these events as possible. Please do communicate your views on them to me or any committee members (contact details on the programme card and online).

With best wishes to you all,

Yours sincerely,

Ian Peel

GCA Chairman,

Head of Classics

Sir William Perkins’s School, Chertsey

Guildford CA “Teach Meet”: Best Practice and Innovative Teaching Ideas for Classics – 21st Feb 2017, 5.45-7pm

Image result for roman teachers

This term’s “Teach Meet” session will be held on

  • Tuesday 21st February 2017, 5.45 -7pm
  • at RGS, High Street, Guildford, GU1 3BB.

This is a networking and resource-sharing event for ANY teachers who can make it. We will be discussing our best practice ideas for teaching Classics in a friendly and collaborative environment. The co-hosts are:

  • Ed Bush, Head of Classics, RGS Guildford
  • Andrew James, Head of Classics, Guildford High School
  • Ian Peel, Head of Classics, Sir William Perkins’s School

Each of us will share some ideas / approaches, hopefully followed by other colleagues. We will then have an open Q&A with more examples depending on the topics discussed.

You are welcome to come and showcase ideas, or just listen and ask or answer questions from fellow Classics teachers.

To help with planning the right size of room and quantity of vodka delicious refreshment, Ed Bush would be grateful if you could drop him a line in advance if you think you might like to attend by email at, or just submit the form below .




Guildford Classical Association Programme 2016-2017

These are our planned events for this academic year


Wednesday 21st September, 7.30 for 8pm

Opening Party

Ms Charlotte Higgins, writer and journalist:

Under Another Sky – journeys in Roman Britain’

Royal Grammar School, Guildford


Tuesday 4th October, 4.30 for 5pm

Schools Talk

Dr Anna Rohnbogner, University of Reading:

‘Skeleton Talk – Bones and their stories from Roman Britain’

Guildford High School, Guildford


Wednesday 9th November, 5.30 7.00pm

Sixth Form Lecture

Dr Rosie Wyles, University of Kent:

‘Women in Greek Tragedy’

Royal Grammar School, Guildford

£2 per student (teachers free).

Contact  or use contact link on this site

**Stop press: optional networking event for students afterwards – pizza and a soft drink for £10**



Thursday 17th November, 5.30 for 6pm

Teach Meet

Dr Aisha Khan-Evans, KCL:

‘Teaching the set texts (exact title tbc)’

Guildford High School, Guildford



Thursday 26th January, 9.45am – 12.30pm

G.C.S.E. Conference

Prof Matthew Leigh, St Anne’s College, Oxford: Virgil: Aeneid 1 

Prof Rhiannon Ash, Merton College, Oxford:

Tacitus, Messalina, and Pliny; Ummidia Quadratilla

Holy Trinity Church, Guildford


** Date TBC **, 5.30 for 6pm

Teach Meet

Mrs Jessica Ashby, HoD at St Catherine’s School:

KS3 Latin – Making the most of starters and plenaries’

St Catherine’s School, Bramley


Thursday 9th March, 2.00 – 5.15pm

Latin and Greek Reading Competition

Charterhouse, Godalming


Monday 8th May, 7.30 for 8pm

May talk

Prof Armand D’Angour, Jesus College, Oxford:

The sound of ancient Greek music

St Catherine’s School, Bramley


Tuesday 13th June (tbc), 5.30 for 6pm

Teach Meet

Mr Ian Peel, HoD at Sir William Perkins’s School

A review of the first year of the new GCSE and A-Level Latin/Greek specifications

Sir William Perkins’s School, Chertsey


Wednesday 21st June (tbc), 2.00 – 4.30pm

Certamen (Latin/Classics competition)

Sir William Perkins’s School, Chertsey


Tuesday 4th July


Venue and format to be arranged.


2016 Certamen!


The very popular Guildford Classical Association Certamen event  will take place at Sir William Perkins’s School on 22nd June this term. Pupils from Year 6 to 10 compete in teams of 4 in a “university challenge” style competition with heats and a grand final for each age group. For more information and an entry form contact Marian Wernham

Closing date for entries is 7th June 2016.