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Today’s hot topic: Binning the Bard


AN Oxford academic has dropped Shakespeare from her candidate interview questions in favour of J K Rowling lest candidates unfamiliar with the Bard should be at a disadvantage.

A list of sample questions published this week includes this one from Lucinda Rumsey, a senior tutor at Mansfield College: ‘J K Rowling has just published a book for adults after the hugely successful Harry Potter series. In what way do you think that writing for children is different to writing for adults?’

Ms Rumsey said: ‘I worry that not all candidates might have the same access to a wide range of literature and I am careful to judge them on what they know, not on what they don’t know. If I asked that question about Shakespeare some candidates might have a view of his literary output, but many wouldn’t.’

Does lowering expectations help overcome disadvantage? Does this suggest that it is fine not to be introduced to our most famous playwright at school? Does it let lazy teachers and and dumbed-down schooling off the hook? Discuss!

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Edited by Kathy Gyngell

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