A Pithy Taste

Leaving school in 2000 means that education has changed a lot. There were many new subjects for students to choose from some I was envious of not being able to do. Subjects like sociology and psychology were after my time. However now it seems that Ofqual seems to have changed their idea of what constitutes an English Literature assessment. Making poetry optional seems ridiculous when it is an integral part of English Literature. The syllabus will have to change in-line with this short-sighted exercise, making it optional meaning that students will never fully learn to appreciate English Literature. Despite some thinking it’s a pointless subject, songwriting is reliant on a grasp of lyrical English so for those ignorant to the connection between these two elements it will simply discourage kids from educating themselves. Many Shakespearean texts are based on poetry so can it be argued that a student really understands the play if the underlying themes are optional?

GCSE specifications in English literature should require students to study the following content.
Detailed study:
Students should study a range of high quality, intellectually challenging, and substantial whole texts in detail. These must include:

  • at least one play by Shakespeare
  • at least one 19th century novel 2
  • a selection of poetry since 1789, including representative Romantic poetry
  • fiction or drama from the British Isles from 1914 onwards.

From the DofE GCSE English Literature in 2018.

I stand with many authors and poets when they blast the removal of poetry as a compulsory element of English Literature – we can but hope that Ofqual reconsider.

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