Macbeth is missing but we didnae murder him

13th August 1999 at 01:00
CURRICULUM CHIEFS have denied being the authors of a literary crisis by excluding Macbeth from a list of possible drama texts to be included in Higher Still courses.

The Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum has dismissed media reaction to the story, broken by The TES Scotland, that the play fails to pass the test of Scottishness.

There is no ban, as suggested by some. Macbeth is one of the most popular texts in secondaries and can still be included in Higher Still courses, the curriculum council says in a statement.

It emphasises that English teachers are free to choose their own selection of literature, although there is a compulsory element in Unit 2, Literary Study, where at least one of the texts studied must be Scottish.

The council points out: "Any text may be judged to be a Scottish text if it meets one or both of the following requirements:

It deals with issues of life or experience in Scotland.

It is the work of a Scottish writer, whether or not resident in Scotland."

The council says Using Scottish Texts: Support Notes and Bibliographies is merely advisory. "It is not prescriptive in any way. It is not a list of set texts or required reading," it states.

The statement continues: "The fact that Macbeth does not appear in this particular, specialised bibliography does not affect the status of the play in the school curriculum. Macbeth is already familiar to teachers and is one of the most popular texts studied by students in Scottish secondary schools.

"We expect no change in its popularity and it will certainly be possible to include it in Higher Still courses."

Mike Baughan, the council's chief executive, previously told The TES Scotland that he was not surprised Macbeth had been excluded.

"It's a major piece of Shakespearian canon in the English language, although it is a play about a tragedy that has a Scottish setting," Mr Baughan said.

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