Russell Brand and Dizzee Rascal to feature in new English language and literature A-level

Education Editor

Russell Brand’s views on UK drugs policy are to become a set A-level text as part of a radical overhaul of the English Language and literature paper.

The TV comedy performer is one of a number of contemporary names whose works have been added to the set texts to be studied by pupils by the Oxford, Cambridge and Royal Society of Art (OCR) exam board.

Others include the book of the Oscar-winning film, Twelve Years A Slave, a Newsnight interview conducted by Jeremy Paxman with rapper Dizzee Rascal on the night Barack Obama won the US presidency in 2008 and the book I Am A Secret Footballer - written anonymously and lifting the lid on the players of beautiful game featuring tales of, amongst other things, adulterous sex acts in hotel pools and drinking binges in Las Vegas.

Russell Brand and Dizzee Rascal English A-level dismissed as ‘rubbish’ by Department of Education  

The changes are as a result of Michael Gove’s A-level reforms. The Education Secretary has said he wants to see more evidence of pupils’ thinking skills and creative ability.

OCR, which is introducing the new syllabus in partnership with education charity the English and Media Centre, says the changes will give pupils a better opportunity to analyse a range of texts - whether spoken or written, literary and non-literary.

They will be studied in tandem with more traditional A-level set pieces, such as Shakespeare’s plays and the works of Charlotte Bronte.

Russell Brand gave evidence to the House of Commons' select committee on home affairs, where he argued that prohibition had completely failed to curb drug addiction. He is a supporter of a petition which has been signed by more than 100,000 people urging a review of drugs policies.

Dizzee Rascal caused a stir by saying of Obama’s victory: “I don’t think he could have done it without hip-hop.”

Students will be asked to comment on his mode of delivery during the interview and the audience he was aiming at.

OCR and the English Media Centre say of their new syllabus: “It ranges from classics such as the poems of Emily Dickinson and William Blake to memoirs like Twelve Years A Slave and contemporary works including the poetry of Jacob Sam-La Rose, Jez Butterworth’s stage play Jerusalem, fiction by Jhumpa Lahiri and Russell Brand’s evidence on drugs policy presented to the House of Commons.”

Up until now, the English Language and Literature paper has taken second place to English Literature - in the case of OCR it had 16,000 students taking it at A-level compared with 48,000 for English Literature. However, OCR hopes its revamped proposals will turn it into a new “gold standard” qualification.

George Norton, an English teacher at Paston Sixth Form College in Norfolk, said of the new paper: “It will be hard to resist a course that allows me to teach William Blake, the writing of The Secret Footballer and the script of Dizzee Rascal’s Newsnight interview.”

A spokesman for the Department for Education said any A-level proposal would have to go through a rigorous assessment and that it awaited Ofqual’s decision with “interest”.

The new exam specification will be submitted to exams regulator Ofqual for accreditation next month.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Project Manager (Procurement & Human Resources)

Unpaid: Cancer Research UK: If you’re a professional in project management, lo...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: We require a teacher of Geogr...

HR Assistant / Human Resources Assistant

£Neg + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: An HR Assistant / Human Resources Ass...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on