‘A dangerous first step’: Simon Armitage among poets to blast GCSE decision

‘A dangerous first step’: Simon Armitage among poets to blast GCSE decision

August 9, 2020

Poet laureate joins Michael Rosen and Imtiaz Dharker to criticise Ofqual announcement that poetry will be optional next year

Poet laureate Simon Armitage and former children’s laureate Michael Rosen are among the top UK poets decrying the government’s decision to make poetry optional for GCSE students next year, describing it as “a dangerous first step”.

Ofqual announced on Tuesday that, due to the impact of coronavirus on education, it would allow exam boards to change their assessment criteria for GCSE English literature next summer. While students will still be assessed on a Shakespeare play, they will only have to focus on two out of the three remaining areas – poetry, the 19th-century novel, and fiction or drama from the British Isles after 1914.

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