Russell Brand and Dizzee Rascal feature in new English A-Level

Russell Brand's evidence to MPs is one of the selected texts on the new course.
Russell Brand's evidence to MPs is one of the selected texts on the new course. Photo:

A-Level English pupils could be asked to study the words of Russell Brand and Dizzee Rascal under new plans for the qualification, it has been disclosed today.

A new English Language and Literature course, described by exam board OCR as "the most diverse yet for any English A-Level", will see pupils studying a range of texts, from tweets and newspaper articles to poetry and plays.

Included among those will be London rapper Dizzee Rascal's interview with Jeremy Paxman following the election of Barack Obama to US President.

Also on the list is Russell Brand's evidence to MPs on the Home Affairs Select Committee about drug addiction.

In the session, Brand - a former drug addict - described his "propensity for verbosity" and quoted US hip-hop icon Tupac Shakur.

Other texts pupils may be asked to study include:

  • Newspaper articles by The Secret Footballer
  • Tweets by broadcaster and columnist Caitlin Moran
  • Memoirs such as Twelve Years a Slave
  • Speeches by artist Grayson Perry
  • Poems by Emily Dickinson and William Blake
  • Works by Orwell, Shakespeare and Charlotte Bronte

OCR said the aim of the course is for students to "develop the skills to analyse any text, whether spoken or written, literary or non-literary, in the most appropriate way," the organisations said.

"It will provide a firm grounding for university and improve employability in any field," OCR English Language and Literature subject specialist Hester Glass said.

A Department for Education spokesman said the qualification will be tested by independent regulator Ofqual "against more rigorous" new criteria submitted by university professors.

"This exam has not been accredited and we await Ofqual's decision with interest," the spokesman added.