OFSTED try to “do” literature

Amusing – and chilling – piece by the wonderful Michael Rosen about part of the recent OFSTED subject report into English. Rosen examines the controversial paragraph 90 of the report which attempts to insist that only texts of “literary merit” should be studied in schools and attempts a sleight of hand to conflate “easy” texts with ones that have contemporary social themes. He views the paragraph as an attempt to smear teachers.

Rosen does a close analysis of the paragraph and sensibly draws attention to the ideological purpose behind its recommendations. He dismisses the idea of there being a gold standard of “literary merit” easily – though notes that it’s an aspect of “power-play” and “Control through priviledge”. (As an aside: I find that the sort of people who fervently believe in the type of “literary merit” discussed here are usually those who don’t actually read very much.).

The crux of the matter is the way that reading in schools is reduced to something called “challenging vocabulary and structures”:

Now we know what these people think reading in schools should be for. We are in pursuit of the ineffable, unfindable mirage of ‘literary merit’ while doing hard words and hard structures because next year, there’ll be harder words and harder structures.

Read Ofsted try to ‘do’ literature and end up with pap HERE.