For secondary schools


The Reading ancient schoolroom offers secondary schools an exciting and innovative approach to GCSE and A-level study in Classical Civilisation, Ancient History, and Latin, as well as a fun, encouraging introduction to what a university campus is like. Academically, the event aims to present cutting-edge research about the ancient world in a way that secondary school pupils can enjoy and benefit from. We can tailor the lessons offered so that every child receives instruction at a level and in subjects relevant to his/her background and course of study.

The event is ideal for students who might not be considering university application because of unfamiliarity with the higher education environment. Participants meet current Reading undergraduates and staff members, visit our beautiful and friendly campus, and see for themselves that universities can be for everyone. A visit to the schoolroom can be combined with campus tours and informal discussions with admissions tutors if desired; it is not an open day, and therefore the emphasis is less on Reading as a particular higher education choice than on exploring the concept of university education in general.

The schoolroom can be experienced as a stand-alone activity (cost £10 per child, time 2 hours on campus) or as part of a full day activities (cost £20 per child). The full-day version can include the following additional activities (when booking, please specify which ones you want):

  • A lesson in ancient mathematics, involving calculations on a counting board or abacus. The ancient methods of doing complex calculations were fundamentally different from our own, with some tasks being easier and some harder than with our system; in this session we can explore mathematics at a variety of levels, depending on the students’ backgrounds and interests.
  • An introduction to Latin, using materials composed in the Roman empire to teach Latin as a foreign language.
  • More advanced Latin, for pupils who have already been studying the language. This lesson can be matched to students’ prior levels of attainment.
  • A visit to Reading’s Ure Museum (conveniently located off the same corridor as the room used for the Ancient Schoolroom, so no travel is necessary), with the opportunity to handle real ancient artefacts under the supervision of specially-trained museum staff.
  • A tour of the Reading University campus.
  • The chance to talk informally with current undergraduates and staff and to ask questions about the admissions process and the university experience.

The schoolroom can accommodate a maximum of 20 pupils at a time, so groups larger than 20 need to take the full-day option. Such groups will be divided up and rotated among the different activities so that everyone has an opportunity to do everything over the course of the day. Groups larger than 50 cannot be accommodated on campus and should consider our mobile option.

Free and reduced-cost places are available for a limited number of schools that cannot afford the fees, that can help us with publicity photographs, and/or whose teachers can supply detailed feedback after the event. Please get in touch if you are interested in such an arrangement.