- 3 updates
Education Secretary Michael Gove has hit back at "culture warriors" who he says have wrongly accused him of banning modern American novels from the GSCE syllabus.
Responding in an article for the Daily Telegraph, Mr Gove denied that he had banned American authors in general or John Steinbeck's 1937 novella Of Mice And Men in particular.
Commenting on exam board OCR's Paul Dodd's claim, the former journalist replied that he had "read and loved" Of Mice And Men and To Kill A Mockingbird as a child.
"Just because one chap at one exam board claimed I didn't like Of Mice And Men, the myth took hold that it - and every other pesky American author - had been banned," he said.
An organisation representing English teachers has launched a scathing attack on the new GCSE curriculum, claiming it will put teenagers off studying literature.
The new syllabus will not include several classic American works, including John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, reportedly at the insistence of the Education Secretary, Michael Gove.
The chair of the National Association for the Teaching of English, Bethan Marshall, told the Sunday Times: “It’s a syllabus out of the 1940s and rumour has it Michael Gove, who read literature, designed it himself. Schools will be incredibly depressed when they see it."
She argued that studying 19th century British works would deter students from continuing with the subject, saying: "Kids will be put off doing A-level literature by this. Many teenagers will think that being made to read Dickens aged 16 is just tedious. This will just grind children down.”
Classic novels by American authors such as John Steinbeck and Harper Lee are to be taken off the GCSE English curriculum after Education Secretary Michael Gove reportedly insisted teenagers should study more works by British authors.
Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird and the Arthur Miller play The Crucible are among the books that have been taken off the list.
The new curriculum will be unveiled this week and the Sunday Times (£) reports that three quarters of the books will be by Britons, with the majority written before the 20th century.
“[Steinbeck's] Of Mice and Men, which Michael Gove really dislikes, will not be included. It was studied by 90% of teenagers taking English literature GCSE in the past,” exam board OCR said.
However they also pointed out that between 70-80% of the work studied on the current curriculum are by British authors.