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American classic texts dropped from English exams after complaints by Gove

TWO American literary ­classics have been dropped by an exam board in England after pressure from Coalition Education Secretary Michael Gove.

To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men have been deleted from the GCSE exam after Scots-born Mr Gove called for British works to be studied.

Mr Gove, who studied English at Oxford University, has also seen Arthur Miller's The Crucible left out.

Both books are widely read by pupils in Scotland for their English exams.

However, neither is on draft GCSE English Literature syllabus of Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) south of the Border.

The Department for Education says it wants pupils to appreciate the "power of the English ­literary heritage" and more pre-20th Century works.

In future, GCE course content will include at least one William Shakespeare play, a selection of work by the Romantic poets, a 19th Century novel, a selection of poetry since 1850 and a 20th Century novel or drama.

OCR said it was dropping them because of the education department's desire for the exam to be more traditionally focussed.

It added that there were fewer opportunities to include them in the new syllabus.

Mr Gove has said that new exams would be more rigorous to ensure that pupils have read the whole book.

He has previously expressed concern that pupils were reading Of Mice and Men in particular.

Paul Dodd, OCR's head of GCSE and A-Level reform said Mr Gove "had a particular dislike for Of Mice and Men and was disappointed that more than 90% of candidates were studying it".

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