Poetry and creative writing are being squeezed out of secondary schools because of the Government's failure to make time in the curriculum for creativity, Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate, has warned.
In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Motion said the Government had missed an 'almost magical opportunity' to rescue poetry in secondary schools from oblivion. The laureate, who has been a fervent champion of poetry in schools, said he had been 'bitterly disappointed' that recommendations from the former chief inspector of schools, Sir Mike Tomlinson, had been rejected by Ruth Kelly, the Education Secretary.
The shake-up of the curriculum and exams proposed in the Tomlinson reforms would have provided a unique chance for the Government to set aside lesson time for creative writing and poetry, Motion said. They had disappeared 'almost entirely' from the secondary curriculum, particularly at GCSE level, where the focus was on exams as a result of the pressure of league tables
'At primary school level the situation is all completely healthy,' he said. 'But as children get into secondary school and come up for GCSE, the culture of learning and creative time disappears almost entirely from the curriculum.
'These incredibly important opportunities " in the sense that it will help them with their studies, as well as its larger, more 'top of the mountain' ideas about humanity " are lost.'
Motion was speaking at an awards ceremony for Writing Together, a scheme that he helped launch, which sends writers and poets into schools. It was created in 2001 because of concerns over standards of writing in schools and to inject more creativity. It sent 200 writers into 170 schools this year. …