The OCR exam board announced yesterday that it has teamed up with educational charity, The English Media Centre, to create a new A-level which studies unconventional texts, such as extracts from Brand’s testimony on the use of drugs and Caitlin Moran’s Twitter feed. It will also feature a BBC Newsnight interview with rapper Dizzee Rascal.
However, the news has not been received well by the Department of Education.
"Schools should be aware that if they offer this rubbish in place of a proper A-level, then pupils may not get into good universities," a spokesperson told the Guardian. "We will expect other exam boards to do better.
"It is immensely patronising to young people to claim that they will only engage with English language and literature through celebrities such as Russell Brand."
The texts will form part of a new version of the English literature and language paper, which will also include traditional pieces by William Shakespeare, William Blake and the Brontes.
Education secretary Michael Gove said recently that he wants to see more evidence of students’ thinking and creative skills.
The Department of Education said that there is a long way to go before the course is implemented in schools. First, it needs to be agreed to by exam regulator Ofqual.
"All new A-levels must be accredited by the independent exams regulator Ofqual against new, more rigorous criteria," continued the DofE spokesperson. "This exam has not been accredited and we await Ofqual's decision with interest."