Has ‘Of Mice and Men’ been banned for GCSE?

An excellent analysis of the double dealing going on over the English Lit curriculum.

English & Media Centre

There’s been a lot of good sense talked in the media in recent days, in response to the DfE’s changes to the Literature requirements for GCSE…and a lot of nonsense too!

In our usual style, EMC is keen to set out some of the facts and arguments and set the record straight on some of the more curious aspects of media responses.

  1. Is Michael Gove right in claiming that he’s not banning American texts and that it’s the Awarding Bodies’ fault for narrowly sticking to the set of minimum requirements?

The Subject Content for GCSE Literature, as set out by the DfE, makes some fairly substantial stipulations about what’s required. A complete nineteenth century text, a collection of poetry, including ‘representative Romantic poetry’ (whatever that is supposed to mean), a play by Shakespeare and a piece of drama or fiction written in ‘the British Isles’. There is a requirement…

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Published by: @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.

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