There has been much conversation and speculation in the press over the last week regarding proposed changes to the GCSE English literature syllabus. Michael Gove’s comments are published here:
Brampton College’s Head of English Martyn Crucefix, published poet, translator and reviewer comments ‘Final details in these changes to specifications have yet to be confirmed – but I’m disappointed if there is any pressure to remove certain texts from study. Gove’s claim that nothing has been banned is a bit disingenuous when schools only have a certain length of time to teach students and if the ‘requirements’ are too fulsome the result will be a sidelining of certain texts.
If 90% of students study Steinbeck’s brilliant novel, I’m not sure that is such a problem. The choice is being made because it is suitable for this level of study in that it is challenging enough for the talented and accessible enough for the less able. The book is beautifully written, economical, vivid, moving. It raises issues of class, poverty, gender, disability and race. It has one of the most dramatic and powerful endings that students never forget.
It will be important to understand how Gove wants his core texts examined/assessed. Once schools understand that more clearly they will be able to respond creatively to ensure that future cohorts of students still can be enthused by literature rather than being put off reading for life’.