Teachers Call for Reform of English Literature A-Level

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Byline: By TIM ROSS

English literature may need to be ditched as a free-standing A-level so more students can study topics such as TV drama, teachers suggested yesterday. The National Association for the Teaching of English (Nate) published a report arguing that English literature A-level must be reformed.

Sixth-formers need a broader course because A-level literature too often ignores the cultural context of novels, drama and poetry, according to the paper.

Gary Snapper, who wrote the report, said aspects of popular culture, including crime fiction, TV drama and romance, should be covered at A-level alongside the classics. The wider social context of the writing should also be given a higher priority, along with literary theory, he said.

Mr Snapper said, 'If literature consists of poetry and novels and drama then all of these types of writing have their popular counterparts - TV drama, the thriller, the romance, the crime novel.

'We are not suggesting that these texts should be studied in depth, as the classics are.

'But they are an important aspect of English literature which has been extremely important in universities in the last 40 years but which is not covered at A-level.'

Nate, which was set up to support the work of English teachers in the UK, has about 5,000 members. …