‘It’s a sin to kill a mockingbird…’

I studied To Kill a Mockingbird many years ago for GCSE English. I recall that I applied what was my standard then of close studying, of labouring maybe the themes of the novel with long passages picked out in the relevant luminous highlighter pen. Quotable sections were flagged up with a torrent of post-it notes to my well-thumbed copy of Harper Lee’s classic. And it’s a true measure of the book, a measure of a classic no matter where it happens to have been based or where the author originates from, that I didn’t manage to study the life out of the text. In fact, it repaid the close attention and gave me an appetite for immersing myself in the nuts and bolts of a novel.

So, I was probably as baffled and dismayed as many people to hear that the Education Secretary Michael Gove is behind plans to pull non-English canon titles from the GCSE syllabus, including To Kill a Mockingbird.

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I’d like to give Mr Gove the benefit of the doubt and say that I’m sure there are many things he is well-placed to manage and direct in his position in government. But in my opinion he should stop micro-managing the books that students will study and leave that decision up to those who are in a position to judge best for their pupils not politics: the teachers.

Lesley Crooks, Digital & Online Marketing Manager

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