Monday, 26 May 2014


I'll begin by saying that I've never been the biggest fan of Michael Gove. It is obvious that his 'improvements' to UK education are based solely on ideology and a desire for total control rather than what is best for the country as a whole. However, the latest set of complaints against him regarding the dropping of To Kill A Mockingbird from GCSE literature seem a little ill founded.
I was surprised that students were still studying that book, the same one I studied twenty years ago at school since I would have thought that they would have changed on a regular basis, simply because so many new books are written each year. But it's obvious that little has changed in the syllabus in twenty years.
As such I can't help wondering whether most of the invective comes more from the fact that people hate change so much in the UK, as well as having romantic memories of their schooldays. People don't like the idea of their children possibly having a different memory.
I've got nothing against the book, I enjoyed it, and it does have some important lessons within it. But I can't help wondering whether if year after year it begins to lose its relevance. After all, however important the lessons, how easy is it for a teen to relate to such a different culture from a century before and in another country.
Surely if you want to help children to understand it better it would be more relevant to have a book written more recently from the UK. Preferably from a non white author. If this turns out to be the replacement then it makes perfect sense to me - of course that remains to be seen but lets wait first before we complain lest it looks solely because of a fear of change.

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