Gove’s GCSE Mockingbird ban ‘backward-looking’

May 26, 2014

Education secretary wants more British-focused syllabus for English Literature courses

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Michael Gove’s decision to drop To Kill A Mockingbird from the GCSE English Literature syllabus has been widely condemned.

The education secretary has decided to drop the classic US novel as he wants more British works to be studied. The overhaul has also seen John Steinbeck’s Of Mice And Men and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible left out. A spokesman for the OCR exam board said that Gove “really dislikes” the Steinbeck novella.

The new GSCE curriculum will now include a least one play by Shakespeare as the Department for Education aims for the course to be “more focused on tradition”.

However, Labour said the changes were "ideological" and "backward-looking". Educational experts describe the new syllabus, which will be taught in schools from September 2015, as being “out of the 1940s”.

The chairwoman of the National Association for the Teaching of English, Bethan Marshall, said: “Schools will be incredibly depressed when they see it. Kids will be put off doing A-level literature. Many teenagers will think that being made to read Dickens aged 16 is just tedious. This will just grind children down.”

The Department for Education said it “doesn’t ban any authors, books or genres”. It added: “In the past, English Literature GCSEs were not rigorous enough. Their content was often far too narrow.”

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I am confused. Is Mr Gove actually specifying the school curriculum himself - personally? Or is this just hearsay and smear spread by competing windbags?

If it is so, rather than read some fluffy bunny's protestations about which story books children should be made to read, I'd like to know what Mr Gove's views are on science and mathematics.

Does he, for example, believe that statistics should be taught before calculus? Should there be more emphasis on solving problems presented in written form? Can we see his examples to illustrate his thoughts?

There is no shortage of fiction, whether from the US, UK or Uraguay & I don't care which ones they pick. But the other subjects actually matter more. Why the silence on the important stuff?