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England's Gifted Kids Hooked on Homer and We Don't Mean Simpson

Originally Published 18 May 2004

England’s most gifted children in the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth are increasingly choosing a study of the Classics as their overall favourite subject of study.

As well as its range of summer schools and outreach events National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth based at the University of Warwick has been asking students to suggest which subjects the Academy should concentrate on as it rolls out a range of online study groups for Academy members. The demand for a classics study group came second only to mathematics in popularity and the Academy has thus today (Tuesday 18th May) launched an online classics study group for its students. Seventy students have already signed up for the group even before it posts its first information.

Kenilworth girl Natasha Coveney (16) was the first person to sign up for the new Classics group - she said:

“I went to the National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth’s classics summer school last year at Exeter, which I found really interesting because we looked at history, the languages, the art and philosophy as well as other things- including getting to use swords!. The subject includes so many things that even if one thing is boring there are many other things that are interesting.”

The Academy is running a classics stream at its Summer School at Exeter this year – the course is already full and was one of the first to fill up.

The study group opens today with an online discussion on "Is democracy the best constitution?" next week they will look at “The role of the hero in society” (rather timely with the new Troy movie in the cinemas,) and in the following week they will look at “Violence in sport”.

Will Griffiths, Director of the Cambridge School Classics Project which will be working with the Academy to run the study group said :

“Classics is an inherently interesting subject for anyone who likes people, ideas, words, the past or studying the way society works. From art and archaeology to philosophy, literature and language, from love and peace to war and anger, there is little that does not fall within the broad field of Classics. The recent release of the film Troy confirms that the interest in the Classical world is as strong as ever.”

The first two NAGTY students to sign up for the online study group were Natasha Coveney and Laura Barnfield. The University Communications Office has contact numbers for both students.