Their rightful place

There is a worrying lack of representation of women and Black and minority ethnic writers on the English curriculum. Teachers and students in several schools have started a campaign to get them properly represented.

English teacher, Olivia Eaton explains what you can do to help.

On World Book Day, students and teachers at our school, The Forest Academy, launched the Curriculum Campaign, an appeal to the Government to address the lack of female and ethnic minority writers on English GCSE and A Level set text lists and the curriculum as a whole. 

Following the introduction of changes to the curriculum in September 2015, English teachers at The Forest Academy noticed a distinct lack of female authors and authors from ethnic minority backgrounds to choose from when picking English Literature at GCSE and A Level set texts. 

Research shows that female writers are represented by an average of just 31% of texts across AQA, Edexcel and OCR’s 2015-2016 GCSE and A Level English Literature reading lists, despite women accounting for 51% of the UK’s population. In addition, texts by writers from black, Asian and ethnic minorities have been marginalised. Some courses only have 5% of texts represented by authors of these backgrounds, despite them accounting for 14% of the UK population. 

The Curriculum Campaign – supported by Beal High School, Association of School and College Leaders, Woodford Country High School for GirlsThe Palmer Catholic Academy and Wes Streeting MP – has launched a petition urging the Government to ensure the curriculum includes a proportionate number of texts by female and ethnic minority writers in English and across all subjects. We are campaigning as a whole school with students and teachers involved in every aspect of the campaign.

We are calling on NUT members to support our campaign and to help us build it more widely.

Please raise this as an issue in your association and, if possible, agree to:

  • send a message of support for the campaign which we can use publicly
  • circulate details of the petition and encourage members to sign
  • help build the campaign in your schools/area

You can contact us on

Olivia Eaton is an English teacher and a member of Redbridge NUT




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