Poetry: Education

Department for Education written question – answered on 24th June 2022.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to support poetry teaching in (a) primary and (b) secondary schools.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

Education is a devolved matter, and the response outlines the information for England only.

Poetry is prominent in the national curriculum for English at key stages 1, 2, 3 and 4. At different stages of their education, students should have opportunities to: develop pleasure in reading and discussing poetry, learn poetry by heart and write their own poetry. As part of the English Literature GCSE, students are taught to read and appreciate the depth and power of the English literary heritage, including studying poetry written since 1789.

The department funds an initiative called 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: http://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/. Pupils choose poems from the online anthology covering 1,000 years of poetry and recite these in school-based competitions. A national final was held in Shakespeare’s Globe in June 2022 and was open to pupils in key stages 2, 3, 4 and 5.

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