Question to the Department for Education:
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department is taking to help improve the provision of literature and poetry programmes in secondary schools.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage. It encourages pupils to read a range of books, poems and plays to encourage the development of a life long love of literature. Pupils should be taught to maintain positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read by increasing their familiarity with a wide range of books.
The Department has strengthened the Key Stage 4 English programmes of study to ensure all pupils read a wide range of high quality, challenging, classic English literature. There is a renewed focus on the reading of whole texts.
The 2022 Autumn Statement announced that funding for mainstream schools and high needs is £3.5 billion higher in 2023/24, compared to 2022/23. That is on top of the £4 billion, year-on-year increase provided in 2022/23 –;an increase of £7.5 billion, or over 15%, in just two years. This funding is not ringfenced and can include literature and poetry programmes.
The Department also funds Poetry by Heart which helps to develop and support inspiring poetry teaching in schools, and to motivate pupils and teachers to explore our rich literary heritage.
Since 2012, the Department has funded a National Poetry Recitation Competition (NPRC), which helps to develop and support inspiring poetry teaching in primary and secondary schools.
NPRC encourages schools to participate to improve pupils' knowledge and enjoyment of poetry and to improve spoken language through poetry recitation and recall.