What is the evidence that this course - and all the investment of time and energy in it - should continue?
- The course is distinctive, demanding and popular (2100 students gained AS qualifications in 2014)
- The assessment differentiates reliably;
- This is the only course which offers preparation for some 7,000 students who want to join some of the 504 degrees in 141 universities and HE provision. (see NAWE statement below)
We should listen to A level students' voices too. They clearly value the literary and emotional challenges of developing and sharing their ideas in writing. The course stimulates them to write and read more, and to be more reflective about the process and discipline of writing.
“I think that personally I’ve grown as a person because you are very vulnerable and you have to be open to criticism and make sure you don’t take it the wrong way. So, for example, when workshopping my pieces people have always given me useful, constructive feedback/criticism.”
"My writing habits: I am not changing the tense or changing the point of view which confuses the reader. My peers helped me pick up this habit which I never noticed previously."
"My writing has improved recently, because I now ask more people about what they think, to get mixed opinions and views."
"My favourite moment of the A level was when I workshopped one of my stories and got brilliant feedback from everyone. I found it so motivating and it made me happy for the rest of the day. "
"Creative writing ... has helped in other subjects, especially English Literature. Creative Writing also means that I have started thinking more laterally than literally. I also love seeing people, like old teachers, and watching their eyes light up when I tell them I do creative writing. "
These are the words of Bilborough College students, interviewed in March 2015. Students of Science and Maths as well as the study of English Literature and Language, and the Arts, choose to complement their studies with courses in Creative Writing. It is a humanising force that encourages new perspectives and connections, as well as a fuller and more personal engagement with learning. As such, it distinguishes an education system from a training programme. Pre-university, post-16 qualification is one of the ways that society can signal that.
Not just for the current students, but for the many keen writers currently in Primary and Secondary schools, we should preserve accreditation in Creative Writing. Not only have so many universities endorsed the value of Creative Writing by developing courses over the last 20 years, but the variety of writers and writing groups across the UK contributes so much to our cultural identity. Cultivating originality and criticality of people's thinking would seem to be the hallmark of a healthy democracy - as well as the guarantee of a brighter future. To let that be jeopardised by some short-sighted bureaucratic or ideological decision, might be regarded as an act of cultural vandalism.
NWP outreach director
Click here to read NAWE statement in defence of Creative Writing:
Click here to read OFQUAL announcement:
AQA's specification details:
Ofqual have asked for responses by early April. AQA's Sarah White has requested responses and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org