Talented teenager wins Royal Academy of Music scholarship

Joseph Lucas has won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music Picture: Tom Barnes

Joseph Lucas has won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music Picture: Tom Barnes - Credit: Tom Barnes

A talented teenage musician will be following in the footsteps of Elton John, Annie Lennox and Katherine Jenkins after winning a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music.

Joseph Lucas, 18, swapped Liverpool for east London when his mum Sue became the rector for East Ham two years ago.

The viola player admits he was disappointed to leave friends behind in Liverpool but says the quality of education offered in Newham has made the difference.

The teen, who is currently doing his A-levels at Newham Collegiate Sixth Form, will be among just six students who will take their place on the coveted strings course in September after impressing at two auditions held at the college’s Marylebone campus.

He said: “I was really shocked to be accepted. There are thousands of students from all over the world applying for a place. I am very lucky to be one that has been accepted.

“God knows if any of this would have happened if I didn’t move to London and get at a place at Newham Collegiate.

“There are no state schools like this up north, though there should be.”

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Joseph added: “East Ham and Liverpool on paper are very similar areas. They are both very working class, people don’t have much money.

“They are both areas where religion is very important to people, in Liverpool it is Catholicism, here there is a real mix.

“But in reality, they are worlds apart. I am not saying there are not any good schools in Liverpool, there are.

“But a very good school in the north of England is rare, whereas in London the opposite is true. Even in areas where there are lots of social problems like Newham the schools are excellent.”

He said that young people living in the capital have a huge advantage over others in the country because of the opportunities on offer.

He added: “In London you have so much. Everything is here, the money, the opportunities. That breeds ambition.

“At my sixth form there are lots of students who do not come from very wealthy backgrounds but they all want to go to Cambridge or Oxford. You would not get that in Liverpool, that says a lot.”