Summer Revision.

The beauty of  reading Shakespeare, Dickens, Shelley and Bronte could be lost to pupils in school due to Covid-19.

Exam bodies have decided to reduce the study of poetry in schools.

Now there are fears that pupils could miss out on experiencing some of the country’s classic poems.

Bob Beagrie, poet, playwright and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Teesside University, believes the plans would be detrimental to pupils’ learning.

“There is a sustained attack of humanities and arts over the last ten years to reduce the opportunities for critical and creative thinking,” he said.

“To be articulate yourself through writing, to poetry to arts, it is a form of resistance.

“In European countries; Finland, Estonia for instance, poetry is much more respected because it is still part of popular folk culture. However, in England, it is gradually eroded by our consciousness.

“In England, the general public sees poetry as part of an elitist, which is untrue it is a stereotype.

“We have some many brilliant, vibrant poetry communities, across the UK, led by low, middle classes and working classes.

“We will rob younger generations from a vital learning process.

“Poetry and creative writing, start with you, with your sphere of experiences and understanding of the world through metaphors.”

The exam regulator Ofqual has made a decision to reduce the teaching of poetry.

English teacher Laura Greppi said: “Reading and understanding poetry, as well as writing it, are essential skills.”

“Poems like The Highwayman, or Blake`s The Tyger, or modern ones such as Coelho`s or Duffy`s works, form the basis for English teaching.

“For me, the aim is to teach English and grammar through poetry.”

“When children are listening to poems orally, they are first of all building their listening skills. And in classes like mine, where we teach dialogically, listening skills are crucial.

What has changed?

Poetry is one of the subjects that will become reduced due to the pandemic.

The concern is that may school will not be able to cover all areas  and seems unfair to put pressure on students and teachers.

This allows  pupils to neglect  the most critical subjects at Schools,  and cover a shrink programme.

The National Office of qualifications feels that it would be challenging for students to learn the full syllabus and problematic verses.

A Department of Education spokesperson said: “Year 11 pupils will compulsorily answer to Shakespeare and then answer to one of the remaining topics choosing between 19th-century or modern text.”


Culture should matter.

Dead Poets Society film. GIF


Bob Beagrie – poet, playwright and senior lecturer in creative writing at Teesside University. He has performed at numerous festivals and venues nationally and internationally.


Ofqual decision made optional in English Literature 2021 GCSE exam
Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

Do Poetry still interests, young people?

According to statistics  of UK book sales monitor; Nielsen Book scan, show that sales of poetry books grew over 12%

Two-thirds of buyers were younger than 34 and 41% aged 13 to 22.

Furthermore, there are many instapoets such as Rupi Kaur with 3.4 million followers on Instagram or Atticus, with 1,5million followers.

Feeling creative or interested in poetry and creative writing? Join our literary society at Teesside University.

This is my favourite poem and you? Do you have one too?


“If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking”
By Emily Dickinson

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.















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