Call for Scottish Writers to Feature in English Exam; Curriculum: Irvine Welsh

Article excerpt

Byline: Graham Grant

CHILDREN should study Scots authors and poets for the Higher Englishexam, experts said yesterday.

Academics have united to lobby education chiefs for changes to ensure teenagershave a broad knowledge of Scottish literature, rather than just focusing ongreat English writers such as Shakespeare.

They say pupils should be encouraged to focus on key figures such as RobertBurns, Sir Walter Scott and modern authors such as Irvine Welsh.

Although Scottish literature used to be a compulsory element of the HigherEnglish exam, that requirement was ditched six years ago in a bid to'streamline' the qualification.

Teachers can still opt for their pupils to study Scots novels and poems butsupporters believe Scottish language and literature should be made compulsoryagain.

A review of Higher English was announced by bosses at the ScottishQualifications Authority (SQA) last month after concerns were raised byheadteachers over the reliability and content of the qualification.

There had been criticism that Higher English does not test the full range ofpupils' skills and ignores creative writing, while there were also worries thattoo many students were not getting the results predicted for them.

The call for greater focus on Scots texts follows the recent decision by SQAofficials to make the study of Scots history compulsory at Higher level.

The Literature Forum for Scotland and the Association for Scottish LiteraryStudies have written to the SQA asking for Scottish literature to be put backat the heart of the English Higher. …