Education & Family

Left Unity protest reads US books at Michael Gove's department

DfE protest Image copyright Other
Image caption Protesters sat down on the floor and read extracts from US books and plays left out of the new GCSE curriculum

Protesters, reading out loud from American books, have staged a short demonstration at the Department for Education (DfE) in central London.

The group, part of newly-formed Left Unity party, read excerpts from Of Mice and Men, To Kill a Mockingbird and The Crucible.

Earlier this week, two exam boards announced their GCSE set texts would not include any American literature.

The DfE confirmed the group were there but said they left after half an hour.

The curriculum announcements by exam boards AQA and OCR sparked protests and online petitions.

'Narrow' teaching

OCR said it had left the US texts out of its new curriculum for GCSEs in England because of new guidelines from Michael Gove.

The education secretary later rejected claims he had "banned" authors such as John Steinbeck and Arthur Miller.

A statement on Left Unity's website said the sit-down was against "a more narrow teaching agenda in our schools".

The 12-strong group posted pictures on Twitter of themselves in the DfE waiting room.

The plans also sparked debate at the Hay Festival.

Michael Morpurgo, former children's laureate and author of War Horse, told BBC Wales there was bound to be resistance "if you insist on imposing books on teachers and then children".

"I would grow up with people saying: 'You ought to read this, it's like medicine; take it, it'll make you better.' It very often doesn't.

"I would like to see so much more in the hands of the teacher and the parents.

"If a teacher loves a book and passes that love on to the child, they'll catch fire with the love of that book".

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