KCL are offering lessons in classics to underprivileged teenagers

They are in their second year of providing lessons to sixth-form students

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Students from disadvantaged backgrounds with high academic potential have the opportunity to attend classes which are tailored towards thought provoking topics and critical thinking skills.

King's Classics lecturer, Edith Hall, said: “We wanted to enable the students from Newham to understand the richness and relevance of the classical world. They have a unique opportunity to engage with world-class lecturers.”

Lecturers in the programme cover subjects varying from ancient literature, religion, theology, Persian history and philosophy.

The students may participate in Greek plays such as Antigone by Sophocles, and are encouraged to pursue Classics as a degree.

Juned Malek, 19, discovered his interest in literature, theology, history and philosophy through the support of Newham's classical outreach. Now a first year undergraduate at KCL, he helps to run the programme. Malek remarks that the programme is “essential in dispelling the myths that surround studying Classics, namely that it is an elitist subject or that it has limited career opportunities.”

He also explains that a Classics degree promotes analytical skills that are in high demand by employers, particularly investment banks and law firms.

According to Malek, Classics provides a “grounding of historical principles passed down through millennia,” adding: “A limited classical education leaves you stuck in the eternal present, lacking the ability to use the past as a frame of reference when making decisions.”

The number of students taking Classical subjects appears to be meeting a decline. Last year, 5148 students enrolled in Classical subjects, down by 9 percent from 5,657 students in 2017.

King’s College London and Newham Sixth Form want to encourage and inspire young individuals to explore Classics for its interdisciplinary qualities and intellectual merit.