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Eng Lit dumber? I don't think so

I read with incredulity your front page (TES, April 22) claiming that English Lit is being dumbed down. I have taught English for 26 years and have never had such a heavy and pre-20th-century-loaded literature curriculum at GCSE as this. It is prescribed that pupils study all of the following in English Literature: A play by Shakespeare; pre-20th century prose; pre-20th century poetry; post-1914 prose; post-1914 poetry and post-1914 drama.

Not only this, but pupils' assignments also have to address the following: comparison between texts; social historical and cultural contexts, and literary traditions. How can anyone say that this is anything but rigorous? Pupils - especially those of average and below-average ability - are overwhelmed by the breadth and depth expected.

Val Houldey

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