Russell Brand to be studied at English A-level from September

Plans originally caused controversy when announced last year

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The Independent Online

Comedian Russell Brand and rapper Dizzee Rascal will be studied as part of the English A-level syllabus as from this September.

Plans to include evidence given by the comedian to a Commons select committee inquiring into drugs and an interview between the rap singer and Newsnight’s Jeremy Paxman caused a stir when they were proposed by the exam board Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Arts (OCR)as part of the new syllabus last year.

Now, though, they have been approved by exams regulator Ofqual amongst 37 new specifications for GCSEs and A-levels put forward by the exam board.

In the rapper’s interview on the night Barack Obama won the US presidency, Mr Rascal said: “I don’t think he could have done it without hip-hop.”


Paul Dodd, OCR’s head of GCSE and A-level reform, said Ofqual did not see their inclusion as an issue. They were put on the syllabus to allow students to study different forms and styles of language. At the time they were proposed, sources within then Education Secretary Michael Gove’s office doused speculation they would be approved.

The 37 new syllabuses include moves to ensure students can no longer avoid reading a whole book for their English GCSE. In the past, they have been able to get by with just studying sections from novels but questions will now insist they relate their answers to the book as a whole, and a broader range of practical experiments in science.