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Michael Gove Wants More Classic Books in Schools

Friday 1st April 2011

Michael Gove has been quoted as saying that less than one in a hundred pupils who sat an English Literature GCSE last year had studied a novel published before the 20th century. He added that classic books like Pride and Prejudice, Far from the Madding Crowd and Wuthering Heights were no longer the most used textbooks in schools. More than 90% of exam papers were based on just 3 books all published after 1930. They were Of Mice and Men, Lord of the Rings and To Kill a Mockingbird. Mr Gove blamed the exam system for not encouraging students to study a wider range of classic novels. Gove also went on to claim that in general pupils and children were not reading enough, or having a wide variety of books to choose from.

The Daily Telegraph reported that Mr Gove was impressed by the way schools in the US promoted reading during a visit last month. They challenged pupils to read 50 books a year and even in deprived areas such as Harlem New York, the schools ranked higher than any other in the city.

In contrast, the UK coalition government has recently announced huge cuts to local councils’ budgets leading to the threatened closure of many local libraries. This in itself will inevitably impact on the availability of reading material for more disadvantaged families.


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