Oscar Wilde is added to curriculum

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Oscar Wilde will be added to the list of authors to be studied by teenagers in secondary schools for the first time today.

The author of Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest will take his place beside more familiar nationally curriculum names such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and Shakespeare as a result of a review of what should be taught in schools.

Education Secretary Alan Johnson's decision to recommend a list of prescribed pre-1914 authors - overruling his advisers - will upset English teachers who wanted more freedom to choose the authors their pupils studied.

Mr Johnson defended his decision by insisting: "There are certain untouchable elements of the secondary school curriculum that all teenagers should learn for a classic well-rounded British education.

"It's vital that teachers instil a lover of literature in young people and engage them with the best-loved writers from our history," he said.