The teaching of classics in schools is supposed to be in terminal decline, but a conference at Stonyhurst College has proved that it is still alive and kicking.
Around 100 GCSE and A level pupils from 13 schools across the north of England visited the college to hear a range of lectures on classical subjects and the organisers had to turn another 50 away.
Judith Parkinson, who organised the conference, said: "There has been much media reporting on the imminent demise of Classics in schools but the response to this conference proves that there is still a great deal of interest.
"We had some lively presentations and all the pupils enjoyed the day."
The keynote speaker was Dr Peter Jones, a former university senior lecturer in Classics and regular ambassador for the subject on the Today programme and as a columnist in The Spectator. He welcomed the pupils and then gave an entertaining presentation on 'Greek epic'.
Other speakers were Tom Lloyd, a PhD student, who spoke on the contemporary relevance of Thucydides and Herodotus, Professor Donald Hill, Emeritus Professor at Newcastle University who spoke on Ovid, Professor Stephen Harrison, Professor of Classical Languages and Literature at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, who spoke on 'History, politics and the Aeneid', and Dr Scott Scullion of Worcester College, Oxford, who spoke on 'Fate and the gods in tragic drama'.
The pupils also heard from Elizabeth Belcher, the Classics Outreach Officer at Oxford University, who outlined university life and the
career prospects for classicists.
"We were really pleased with the success of the day," said Judith. "As far as I am aware there is no other comparable event in the north and it is fairly unusual nationally."
[for the record, the original headline was "Pupils flock to conference on classics"]