Now I was in the first year to take GCSE’s (1988) and it was on the syllabus then! I have distinct memories of it as I hated that book, I just couldn’t get in to it and it was the only time my parents came home from a parents evening, took me into the dining room and told me I wasn’t to leave until I had read the book. Obviously, not all that night but they would be keeping an eye on me.
I was savvy though, I just read some of it and then the penguin pass notes, so I could get through the course. Luckily, I did a pure coursework GCSE so they just didn’t use that essay when they submitted my paper – I do remember getting good marks on one about Malvolio from Twelfth Night and that was used instead.
In fact, I know children everywhere will be moaning about the fact Shakespeare is still included in the syllabus. But as someone who can still quote parts of some of his plays now, and works in the town that millions of people flock to just to see where he lived, I can kinda see his relevance still now. And that ability to quote has been very useful in pub quizzes! I’m sure there are elements of Romeo and Juliet in their day to day life all the time.
What I find interesting is what they have now included. One of the pieces is ‘Anita and me’ by Meera Syal. I read this years ago, can’t remember what it was about but do remember enjoying it. It’s a complete change from the works above, but if it engages those who don’t like to read – all the better.
I don’t think Phil and I will ever hit the GCSE syllabus but maybe they will grow up to read our books?