Scrap English Literature A-level, teachers demand
English literature should be scrapped as a separate exam at A-level, according to a report by the National Association of Teachers of English.
The report says the subject fails to give youngsters the skills they need to write academic essays. Instead, it concentrates too heavily on studying a small number of texts in detail, and writing about them without developing a broader understanding of current culture. As a result, the subject should be merged with the English language A-level, and include study of the modern media.
The move has upset supporters of the exam who claim it would lead to a reduction in the study of classic literature. Some say it will end the study of writers such as Chaucer and Dickens, and usher in the study of more contemporary authors.
Claire Fox, of the Institute of Ideas and a former English teacher, said: "One suspects there is an irritating anti-elitist agenda at work here. The very act of reading great literature should help you develop an understanding of great literature and therefore help you improve your writing."
The report, "The Future of A-level English", says: "The dramatic difference between the school and university English creates difficulties for many students. As student numbers increase, pressure on staff rises, particularly as there is a clear need to address the difficulties many students face in writing academic essays."
This is brought about, it says, by the English literature exam's "almost exclusive emphasis on the close study of a small number of lengthy texts read in isolation from each other - an emphasis that contributes largely to the course's lack of breadth".
The report says the "rigid division" of English into "language" and "literature" studies is "no longer appropriate" at A-level. Students can now study either English literature or English language - with most (50,082) opting for literature. Only 14,971 study language. There is a separate English literature and language exam, but it is taken by only 14,694.
The authors add that English should offer a broader and more practical education to equip those who do not go to university with the skills they need to communicate.
Ms Fox said: "I can't believe they're saying this. They're even admitting that what they're doing is moving away from the study of literature. If you learn to read literature with a degree of sophistication, then that should rub off on you and help develop your writing ability."
The report's findings are being passed on to the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the exams watchdog, which is reviewing how English is taught.
Isis 'throw man off a building for homosexual affair' and beat him to death when he survives
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Boris Johnson claims porn-obsessed Islamic jihadists are 'literally w*****s'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
- 1 Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
- 2 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Dad attempts revenge on teenage daughter, plan backfires spectacularly
- 5 Ball pool for adults opens in London
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an excellent, large partially ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...
£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...
£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...