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Further update – March 2012


I am very pleased to report that the threat of redundancies in Classics at Royal Holloway has now been lifted.  Since November, one member of staff has accepted a post elsewhere, one has decided to go part-time for personal reasons and one has accepted a secondment to a position in Athens for at least two years from January 2013.  Student applications remain strong at all levels, both undergraduate and postgraduate.  The Department is set to continue as an independent Department, not part of a School with History.

With renewed thanks to all our supporters,

Anne Sheppard

22 March 2012


Good news – important update on discussions with the College!


It has now been decided that no reduction in staff numbers will take place until the end of the academic year 2013-14.  The latest proposal from the College is for 2 posts to be lost at the end of that year and 2 more at the end of 2014-15.  If we recruit good numbers of students with AAB or above at A level for 2012 and our plans to increase our numbers of Master’s students, both for our MA programmes and for our new MRes programmes, are successful, the proposal for a reduction in staff numbers is likely to be reviewed.  Validation of our two MRes degrees, one in Rhetoric and one in Classical Reception, is in train.

We have been asked to embark on discussions with the History Department about moving towards the formation of a School of History and Classics and the Academic Board has approved a move of the 1.5 modern Philosophy staff to the Department of Politics and International Relations, but discussion continues over the placing of the member of staff who teaches Ancient Philosophy.  A move of our Research Professor to the Department of English remains part of the overall ‘restructuring’ plan.

We are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to deliver on our plans for strong undergraduate and postgraduate recruitment and very grateful to all our supporters who have helped us reach this point.

Anne Sheppard

Head of Department

3 November 2011

Update on progress – revised College proposals


In response to the campaign to save Classics at Royal Holloway, and to the proposals put forward by the Department, the College has made some revisions to its proposals for the future of Classics.  In particular the BA Classics is to be retained and the importance of advanced teaching in classical languages has been explicitly recognised.  A reduction of staff numbers is still proposed, but it would be a loss of 4 posts rather than 6.   The revised proposal for staff numbers is based on an assumption that we will be admitting 50 undergraduates for our classical degree programmes.  The merger with History is also still proposed but the suggestion now is that there would be a ‘School of History and Classics’ with a ‘subject leader’ for Classics.  The proposal to move the Philosophy staff, including the Ancient Philosophy post, to the Department of Politics and International Relations has not been changed, nor has the proposal to move our Research Professor entirely to the Department of English.

Discussions within the College continue, and we hope for further progress.  We are very pleased that we can continue to welcome applications through UCAS for 2012 for ALL our current degree programmes.

Anne Sheppard

Head of Department

3 October 2011

Latest update on 2011 Admissions


Following the publication of A-level results on 18 August, the Department has exceeded its target for HEU (Home and EU) undergraduates in Classical subjects. Our overall target of 85 was supposed to be made up of 67 FTE undergraduates in Classical subjects and 18 in Philosophy. On current figures (as of Tuesday 30 August) we are expecting 75.5 FTE undergraduates in Classical subjects (including 11 for BA Classics) and 19.5 FTE in Philosophy. We are also above target for overseas undergraduate numbers. We are currently the only Department in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to have exceeded our targets for both HEU and overseas undergraduates. The only other Department in the College which is in this position is the School of Management.



‘I believe that a training in classics is one of the best, if not the best, that a young mind can have. It is a universal spanner for so many other languages, but it also gives young people access not just to London’s Roman history, but to an understanding of world history.

I want London to stay at the forefront of teaching and research in this area and I trust the University of London will continue to offer courses in this field.’



Actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, comedian, television presenter, film director, and a director of Norwich City Football Club, Stephen Fry writes in support of the Campaign:

“It grieves me beyond measure to think that Royal Holloway believes it can dispense with its Classics and Philosophy departments and still claim status as a significant institution of higher learning. If it wants to change from education to vocation, then fine. But let no one be surprised when generation after generation emerge like robots, dedicated and adapted to one set of tools, while the liberating power of an educated mind, able to turn itself to any enquiry and master any discipline is denied them. You might as well tell the world that the Dorchester has decided against cooking and will be dispensing vitamin tablets to all its guests from now on. Fatuous, tragic, the falsest of false economies. I can hear the Houyhnhnms’ dying shivers as the Yahoos surge forward, knuckles grazing the ground.”

Baroness Fookes endorses campaign!


Our first House of Lords support! Baroness Fookes, former Conservative MP, writes to us: ‘I was utterly dismayed to learn of the closure of the Classics and Philosophy Department at Royal Holloway.  As a former student of the college I have always been immensely proud of the status of the college as a centre of excellence which includes the Humanities. I can only assume that this drastic measure has been brought about by the necessity for financial stringency. Nonetheless I cannot but deplore the axing of an entire department which has built for itself such a fine scholarly reputation’