Letter: A place for Shakespeare in schools

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The Independent Online
Sir: Bryan Appleyard might like to know the range of material covered by one English teacher with a GCSE group nearing the end of the course.

I have just finished the 'Index to Coursework Tasks', complete with component codes required by the examination board. As well as a detailed study of Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre and poems including Coleridge's 'Ancient Mariner' and Keats's 'Eve of St Agnes', which are examination texts, we have covered novels, short stories, plays and poems by Ayckbourn, Blake, Eliot (T. S. and George), Hardy, Lawrence, Murdoch (Iris), Steinbeck, Woolf, Waugh, Wilde and others. Before the 100 per cent coursework option was discontinued we did more. This may be 'arrogant madness', but the texts are not 'trivial and undemanding'.

No English teachers worth their salt need an official list. We do need the professional freedom to use our knowledge and experience of our own subject in conjunction with our close understanding of the pupils we teach. We need to build on previous literary experience, complement and balance, harness opportunities and current enthusiasms. We do not want to deprive children but to enrich them.

Yours faithfully,