Mr Pegler (Head of Department) – Loves Romans and Rome. New Zealand-born Mr Pegler is responsible for the running of the department and specialises in teaching Classical Civilisation. A trained archaeologist, he has dug holes in Wales and Romania and is currently (still) working on his PhD thesis.  He also co-authored the ‘The Hutchinson Dictionary of Ancient and Medieval Warfare’ which used to be very expensive but is probably now available on Amazon cheaply. Mr Pegler is very honoured to be on the JACT Classical Civilisation Committee.

Mr Davies - a highly-trained and skilled Welshman (no oxymoron there), Mr Davies brings 30+ years of Classics teaching to the department. A specialist in Latin teaching, Mr Davies is Head of Latin from Year 9 onwards. He also displays a gift for making puns at any situation and at any opportunity. He has moved on from coaching rugby to shouting frantically from the touchline whatever he forgot to tell the B team beforehand.

Dr Harvey – Excellent all-rounder who teaches both Latin and Classical Civilisation at all levels, Dr Harvey is also a trained archaeologist who worked at Pompeii for the British Expedition. She is also the author of ‘County Durham Through the Ages’ and a member of the Schools Committee for the Roman Society.


Aims of the Department.

The department is committed to offering a complete and detailed Classical education for students from Year 7 to Year 13, providing learning opportunities not only in the Greek and Roman world but in the Ancient World as a whole – Egypt, Bronze Age Greece, Iron Age Europe, India and Persia. At all stages we support and encourage our students interests through the Commitment to Classics initiative and we offer an advanced Gifted and Talented scheme for those who are particularly interested in the Greeks and Romans, their language and their culture. While particularly interested in preparing candidates who will go on to study Classical subjects at university we also aim to develop a broad range of valuable skills in all our students regardless of which academic or career path they choose. We develop skills in history, art, drama, MFL and PRE as part of the legacy of the Classical World. In general we intend for Classics to be a stimulating and rewarding part of anyone’s education at Watford Boys Grammar.


Classics at Watford Boys.

Year 7 – Latin. All students learn Latin in Year 7 for one period a week. We focus on the importance of Latin to Modern Foreign Languages as well as the legacy of the Romans on the modern world. The course follows the Cambridge Latin Course which is a colourful mixture of Latin and the culture of the Romans. Topics include: The City of Pompeii and Roman Houses.

Year 8 Latin - Continues to follow the Cambridge Latin Course as the Second Language option, combining learning the Latin language with studying the Roman World. Topics studied include: Gladiators, slavery, the Roman theatre, The Underworld, the Eruption of Mt Vesuvius and Rediscovery of Pompeii.


GCSE (Year 9, 10 &11)

Latin. The boys will continue with the Cambridge Latin Course up to the end of Book 4, savouring storylines ranging from murder and treason to philosophical punch-ups. In the later part of Year 10 they will begin their study of literature in the original Latin, an almost unique opportunity for students at that age. Currently we use the very accessible exams of the WJEC board at this level, but will be reviewing the options for the 2018 exams under the new specifications.


Classical Civilisation. Following the OCR Classical Civilisation course the students will study the modules on City Life in Ancient Rome, Homer’s Odyssey and Community Life in Pompeii. There will also be an internally-assessed module for the Controlled Assessment topic (usually on the Ancient Olympic Games). Students will also be introduced to study and research skills by examining the evidence of Ancient Egyptian civilisation.


Sixth Form

Latin. The current AS scheme for the OCR exam involves (a) a consolidation and extension of grammar and language learning tested by unseen translation of an adapted passage and of a shorter piece of original Latin by a specified author (usually Cicero), and (b) study of one prose (usually a Cicero speech) and one verse (usually a piece of risqué Ovid) author tested by comprehension and translation questions. A2 is divided between Latin Verse and Latin Prose; these are tested by unseen comprehension and translation passages, and by essay questions on the set texts. The new spec for A level in the old two-year-study style will be revealed soon.


Classical Civilisation. The AQA course begins with a basic introduction to the Classical World and though the GCSE course is intended to provide an excellent background to the topics studied no such previous experience with Classics is necessary for taking the course.

 L6:     Greek Art and Architecture. An outstanding study of the art of Classical Greece. We examine a selection of some of the greatest Greek sculptures and temples to gain an insight into the development of art and architecture in the Ancient Greek World.

The Second Punic War. Following the historical account set out by Livy we study the famous events and personalities of the war to evaluate the tactics and strategies that affected its outcome, an outcome that would change the world.


U6:    The Persian Wars. Studying Herodotus’ Histories  we examine the Persian invasions of Greece and the personalities, tactics and motivations behind the two sides. Battles such as Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis had huge significance in the war and on world history. Aechylus’ play The Persians also provides a contemporary perspective on the war as a moral lesson.

Alexander the Great. A fantastic opportunity to study the psychology of a man who would conquer the largest empire the world had ever seen by the age of 32. His victories, controversies, ambition, genius and legacy will be evaluated.



The department has developed an outstanding resource collection. In addition to the large stock in the Fuller Memorial Library the department has its own library of over 2000 books. An extensive digital image library, DVD and CDROM resource helps present the Ancient World in a modern way. We also make use of an extensive collection of original and replica objects, ranging from full-size replica helmets and weapons, a 600 year old edition of Livy and a 10000 year old flint axe!


Extra-curricular activities.

The department offers a Classics Club on Wednesday lunchtimes for all those interested in all things to do with the Ancient World. A Gifted and Talented Club and a Mythology Club are also run by the students.