Together with Penguin Random House UK, Pearson Education have developed a pioneering new programme called 'Lit in Colour' which aims to highlight the importance of a diverse English Literature curriculum. From hundreds of schools who applied to take part, Westonbirt is delighted to have been selected. Head of English, Miss Sheehan, says of the news;
"It is increasingly obvious, and necessary, that education systems around the world need more diversity. We have seen several big pushes for this in the last year, particularly with the BLM protests across the globe. We are delighted that our faculty has been chosen to be part of only 100 schools across the UK in a leading movement to revolutionise the teaching and reading specifications of English."
"As a team we have always been keen to innovate with our teaching practice and text choices and being a part of this compassionate, intellectual and diverse programme is hugely exciting. It is also a commitment - we stand by the choice to ensure our reading selections and teaching units are varied, inclusive, global and of excellent quality. We are very lucky to have such open-minded, thoughtful and ambitious students at Westonbirt and our record of excellent IGCSE and A level results can be accredited to the relationships we have with them and the rigorous efforts of the staff and students: we know our pupils will continue to thrive within this programme because they have continuously chosen and pushed themselves to be more aware of the world they live in and this programme gives us all more opportunities to access stories from all backgrounds and countries."
It is testament to the English department that some of our 'Lit in Colour' choices were made before we won a place in this programme, which is evidence of our long-term commitment to diversity in literature:
- Mrs Price taught 'Children of Blood and Bone' to her Year 8 class this year - this is an incredible fantasy/dystopian fiction by Nigerian-
American novelist Tomi Adeyemi, as well as 'Never Let Me Go', an innovate sci-fi novel by Japanese- British writer Kazuo Ishiguro to Year 12;
- Mrs Barnes has introduced the non-binary, Black-British poet Jay Bernard to Year 9;
- Miss Sheehan's Year 12s and 13s have all been taught 'Othello' as their exam Shakespeare text with much of the unit's work on post-colonial critical readings and the portrayals of a 'black, foreign Muslim' as the centre of an Elizabethan tragedy; whilst Year 11 have been reading poems outside of their comfort zone - refugee crisis work; civil rights poetry and voices of the Caribbean; as well as current BLM poetry.
Mrs Sheehan looks forward to introducing an even wider range of stories, poems and voices to Westonbirt and would be delighted to hear any of your suggestions!