The fuss over OCR's decisions about which poets to feature in its English Literature GCSE seems to have died down since I first wrote about it last week. In the light of the changes made (fewer poems now by dead white blokes) I have suggested that the Board might make poetry a strong feature of its new GCSE in Natural History given how much poetry explores the fraught relationship between humans and the rest of nature. I still think that this is an opportunity it should take up.
However, there is also something else it might do; that is, change the emphasis in the literature GCSE itself. The current specification is that (within the over-arching theme of poetry over time) schools should choose one cluster from the OCR Poetry Anthology:
- Love and Relationships
- Youth and Age.
Whilst it's hard to argue against the fundamental nature of these three themes, given the human condition, a theme of Humanity in Nature (or some such phrasing) would be equally compelling, and would be a way of helping students learn about the crises we face today. Happily there is much new as well as old poetry that falls within in this theme which is one that crosses ethnicity, class and culture.
Over to you OCR ...