First the authorities stipulated which lines of Shakespeare pupils would study for KS3; now theatres are staging abbreviated versions of the plays
If you are a key stage 3 English teacher, it seems two scenes of the play are more than enough. Shakespearean theatre companies are facing slings and arrows for staging performances and workshops that focus only on the scenes which will be tested in England - and assessed in Wales.
The National Association for the Teaching of English (Nate) described them as a "sad indictment" of the modern pressures on schools, in which cultural activities could often only be justified if they could be seen to have a direct impact on results.
However, Nate said the productions were better than pupils seeing no Shakespeare at all.
The controversy comes as 650,000 teenagers in England took their KS3 tests this week. Every year, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority stipulates in advance which lines of a Shakespeare play pupils will be tested for in English.
At least four organisations have been running productions for schools which centre on the set scenes. Best known is Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, the historic venue in London, which re-opened in 1997. The original Globe burned down in 1613.
This year, it staged a free production of a stripped-down version of Much Ado About Nothing, one of three plays set for KS3.
On the Globe's website, the director spoke of his intention to leave as much of the set scenes as possible intact in this version.
"As members of the audience will primarily be young people who are studying the play for exams, I have had to edit the set scenes very carefully," he said.
In addition, the Globe staged workshops for 30 London schools, which it said were "geared towards the set scenes".
Educational resources on the Globe's website for the events are also directed towards the scenes.
Rainbow Theatre, a company based in Worthing, West Sussex, this year staged workshops in schools centring on the scenes for The Tempest and Much Ado. Costs were pound;1.90 per pupil.
Nicolas Young, its artistic director, said it was inevitable this would be the focus, with drama groups fighting for funding.
Bitesize Theatre Company, based in Wrexham, North Wales, this spring offered 90-minute workshops in schools, "looking in detail at the set scenes", according to its website. It added that the scenes are "performed, analysed and compared". The cost was pound;2.80 per pupil.
Shakespeare 4 Kidz, based at Oxted, Surrey, runs one-hour workshops in schools in which test-style questions are explored. The cost is pound;325 for the seminar.
Simon Gibbons, chair of Nate's 9-14 committee, said: "It's a sad indictment of the situation schools are in for organisations to feel they have to go down this route."
But he added: "Most kids are going to get nothing in terms of exposure to a Shakespeare play in performance, except perhaps a video. This is much better."
John Gallagher, head of English at Stratford Upon Avon Grammar School for Girls, said: "If the Government says pupils must study Shakespeare, let's make it in performance. If this is how it is to be done, I would say that's excellent."