Owen Sheers urges English literature core subject change

The BBC reports that one of Wales’ leading poets and authors wants GCSE English literature to be reinstated as one of the core subjects schools are judged on in Wales.

The numbers taking the exam have halved in 12 months and Owen Sheers said it was “very worrying”.

The Welsh Government said a review of teaching literature would take place.

Schools in Wales have to teach English language and English literature but teachers decide whether pupils take the latter at GCSE.

Figures from the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) showed 16,780 students sat GCSE English literature in Wales in 2017 while in 2016 the figure was 30,100.

“I think it’s very, very worrying that English literature isn’t a core measure and what does that say about how we value literature?” Mr Sheers said.

Rajvi Glasbrook Griffith, an assistant head teacher in Newport and writer, said the situation was a result of the target-driven education system. “Many schools have culled English literature all together, in some schools only top sets have been entered where they’re guaranteed of getting a certain grade but the grade shouldn’t be the determining factor.”

A Welsh Government spokesman said: “We are listening to concerns that some schools may not be meeting the requirements of the English or Welsh programme of study in teaching literature to all.

Read more Owen Sheers urges English literature core subject change

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