HANDS OFF POETRY!

We strongly oppose the censoring of Carol Ann Duffy's poem Education for Leisure by the examination board AQA, which has removed it from its anthology because it deals with the contentious issue of knife crime. AQA's decision is an arbitrary and cowardly action, a token gesture to show that it is a responsible and sensitive organisation, from a body that has neither the authority nor the nerve to exclude much more violent works from its syllabus, such as Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

The English curriculum should not be used to score cheap political points, to advance corporate interests or for a back-covering exercise by an unaccountable organisation. Poems should be studied for their literary and therefore educational value, not because they carry the correct political message.

With its decision to ban Education for Leisure, AQA has shown the country that it is blatantly indifferent to the literary merits of the works it selects. Such a philistine and bureaucratic organisation does not deserve to be entrusted with the important task of shaping the English curriculum and deciding which poems our children will study. Literature is a public good, and AQA has no business banning it. We demand that AQA reverse its decision immediately.

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Goal
750 / 1000

Latest Signatures

  • 27 December 2015750. Peter B
    I support this petition
  • 22 December 2015749. Ramona H
    В
  • 10 December 2015748. Martyn C
    I support this petition
  • 09 December 2015747. Isabel Adomakohy
    I studied this poem last year and felt no desire to commit a knife crime! I merely marvelled at her literary ability and savoured the composition of the poem, as I hope many more students will have the chance to do in later years.
  • 05 December 2015746. K S
    I support this petition
  • 29 November 2015745. Margaret D
    I support this petition
  • 26 November 2015744. Ahren W
    I support this petition
  • 15 November 2015743. D H
    Ludicrous
  • 13 November 2015742. Susan C
    I support this petition
  • 12 November 2015741. Padraig R
    Teaching English for 33 years: such censorship is a disgrace.
  • 04 November 2015740. Lucy W
    INDEED!
  • 03 November 2015739. Peter D
    I support this petition
  • 27 October 2015738. Dominic S
    poetry should be the final line of defence against infringements on free speech. Bravo, Michele
  • 23 October 2015737. Alistair S
    I support this petition
  • 13 October 2015736. John K
    I support this petition
  • 02 October 2015735. Vincent H
    I support this petition
  • 27 September 2015734. Margaret L
    I support this petition
  • 23 September 2015733. Bobbie A
    I fully support the reinstatement of the poem "Education for Leisure". Taking it out of the Anthology does not make sense, especially as other, more violent poems remain.
  • 20 September 2015732. Helen T
    I support this petition
  • 03 September 2015731. Neil Cordova
    Guys, come on. It's a poem for f**ks sake, not a call for jihad
  • 02 September 2015730. Katharine W
    I support this petition
  • 30 August 2015729. Carly P
    I support this petition
  • 19 August 2015728. Andrea Lohmannm
    As an English teacher, I found the decision to remove the poem farsical. As a Y10 form tutor, annoying, as the poem provided points for serious discussions.
  • 18 August 2015727. Tania K
    I support this petition
  • 18 August 2015726. Jacqueline Korng
    I think it disgraceful that AQA should take this action
  • 16 August 2015725. Penelope S
    I concur entirely with the Hands Off Poetry Petition. I am a published poet, and creative writing tutor, and am appalled at this curtailing of freedoms that should be respected and upheld, not destroyed
  • 16 August 2015724. Ken C
    I support this petition

browse all the signatures

Kelli RiddleBy:
Business and CompaniesIn:
Petition target:
Assessment and Qualifications Alliance

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