Laments and criticisms from teachers about the syllabus and the text list have already been well publicised and with good reason. The changes already made in response to complaints are welcomed but the 'draft' advanced text list has caused further concerns.
All teachers have favourite texts that they enjoy working with and that their students have been engaged with. New text lists cannot suit everyone but surely changes should acknowledge that teachers are already coping with a raft of changes. The Syllabus changes and timeline for introduction leaves inadequate time to purchase, read and assess them for suitability before they need to be introduced. Teachers are buying their own copies of texts that they are unfamiliar with as many of them are not as yet available in libraries.
Many teachers are also bemoaning the fact that so many wonderful texts have been removed and how this depletes their current resources. This demands for many teachers and schools, that new resources be developed in record time. Some courses seem to have fared better than others. Standard has seen the loss of accessible poets such as Owen, Stewart, Komninos, Paterson and Herrick which will pose problems for some students.
At the other end of the scale, the Extension 1 course has been completely changed. The loss of Genre study and the need to 'massage' some of the texts into these densely described five electives will take a great deal of time and effort to prepare for and resource. Some of the texts taken from elsewhere do not seem to 'fit' into the elective and some teachers are said they are struggling to find THREE texts to do in any one elective.
Many current texts in English book rooms will no longer be available and the sheer cost of purchasing new texts will be difficult for the vast majority of schools who do not have the benefit of giving parents a text list.
New texts and modules can be a refreshing challenge for teachers but not when there is too little time to get ready to implement them.
It is also strange that previously available online resources for modules and texts such as 'Julius Caesar' and the 'Prince' are no longer operational. This means that teachers are scrambling to find copies from teachers who had already downloaded the resources or find cached versions. Many are questioning why access to resource sites where work for current texts has already been done are now closed.
What teachers need ASAP:
- Detailed annotations outlining how texts can be dealt with
- A sample exam paper showing how texts will be examined
- A wide range of online resources made available to government and non-government teachers
- Funds be made available to purchase texts.
- Release time for teachers to cope with the burden. English teachers in particular have been slogged with dealing with new texts when they expected the current list to last until 2020.
- Consideration that changes to copyright law and the likelihood that 'fair use' will mean that writers of any textbooks for the upcoming texts will not paid.