This course will consider what excellence in a Classics department looks like, and the role of the Head of Classics in helping to achieve and maintain such excellence. It will examine strategies for successful recruitment of students, for optimizing teaching and learning, for managing teachers experienced and inexperienced, and for establishing and maintaining a position for Classics within a school. It will conclude with an overview of what the working year of a Head of Classics involves, and of the opportunities and challenges the job presents at various stages in its life cycle. It will offer constructive, pragmatic advice derived from experience, and will aim to incorporate lively discussion and question-and-answer sessions.

This course is designed for current Heads of Classics and for anyone interested in holding such a position or in contributing to the management of a Classics department.


  • Considered what makes a Classics department excellent, and the role of the Head of Classics in achieving excellence
  • Looked at a range of strategies for improving and maintaining recruitment of students
  • Looked at ways in which a Head of Classics can develop and improve teaching and learning within the department
  • Enhanced their ability to lead, support and nurture teachers in the department
  • Examined the yearly workload of a Head of Classics and the life cycle of the job
  • Reflected on strategies for dealing with the challenges and making the most of the opportunities presented by a Head of Classics position
DATE & LOCATION London | Thursday 16 June 2022

London | Thursday 17 November 2022

  • Current Heads of Classics departments
  • Aspiring Heads of Classics departments
  • Those wishing to take on a leadership role within a Classics department
  • Senior Leaders responsible for Classics
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


Session 1: 10.00 – 10.30am: What is a successful Classics department?

  • Acknowledging and confronting existential threats to Classics
  • The position of Classics within a school: variables, challenges and opportunities
  • The importance of student recruitment
  • The quality of teaching and learning
  • Managing staff towards happiness and fulfilment
  • Expectations and outcomes: senior leadership, the intellectual environment, public exams and progression to higher education

Session 2: 10.30 – 11.30am: Student recruitment

  • Key Stage 3: curricula to attract and retain students
  • Engaging interest in language work at GCSE
  • Engaging interest in literature work at GCSE
  • Stretch and challenge without intimidation
  • Developing the department as a physical space
  • Beyond the classroom and the curriculum: educational visits and trips
  • Promotion and advertisement using traditional and new media
  • Classics in a digital world
  • Classics and the twenty-first century child

11.30 – 11.45am: Morning Break

Session 3: 11.45am – 12.45pm: Teaching and learning

  • The role of the HoD in planning and managing T&L: possibilities and limitations
  • Resources (and budgets): buying resources in and developing resources in-house
  • Developing curricula and schemes of work
  • Opportunities for the HoD to model T&L
  • Making effective use of assessment and assessment data

12.45 – 1.45pm: Lunch

Session 4: 1.45 – 2.30pm: Managing others and being managed by others

  • Strategies for managing experienced teachers
  • Strategies for managing junior teachers
  • Managing trainees and NQTs
  • Encouraging ongoing professional development: formal and informal opportunities
  • Making observation and appraisal processes as effective as possible
  • Involving others in decision-making, planning and delivery
  • Making the most of departmental meetings
  • Line managers: the Head of Classics within a management structure
  • Dealing with senior leadership: compliance, challenge and picking one’s battles

2.30 – 2.45pm: Afternoon Break

Session 5: 2.45 – 3.45pm: How it works: the Head of Classics

  • Managing one’s time and workload: variables and the work-life balance
  • The pros and cons of delegation
  • Planning ahead and finding time to do so
  • Preparing for Inspections
  • Before and after: staying abreast of developments in primary and higher education
  • The life cycle of the HoD
  • The early years: taking over a department, and the watching brief
  • Maintaining freshness and enthusiasm: professional and intellectual development
  • Career progression
  • Peaks, troughs and the long run: responding to success and failure

3.45pm: Depart

Dr James Burbidge

James Burbidge has been Head of Classics at Tonbridge School since 2014, where he oversees a department of six teachers. He previously taught at New Hall School for three years, and before that worked as a Lecturer in Latin and Greek at Oxford University. He has published articles on Latin poetry and recently a commentary for Bloomsbury on part of Aeneid 12 for A Level Latin students.