Keeley Nolan, Lead Subject Advisor
As part of our commitment to improve the diversity of the texts studied at GCSE, we’ve refreshed our GCSE poetry anthology, Towards a World Unknown, by replacing five poems in each of the thematic clusters. The poems we’ve replaced have largely already been assessed. The new poems build on the diversity of the original anthology by offering more poems by contemporary and established poets of colour. The revised anthology is for first teach September 2022 with first assessment in June 2024.
We’re excited to announce that the following new poems will be included in each cluster:
Replaced poems are ‘A Broken Appointment’, Thomas Hardy; ‘Fin de Fête’, Charlotte Mew; ‘The Sorrow of True Love’, Edward Thomas; ‘An Arundel Tomb’, Philip Larkin and ‘Long Distance II’, Tony Harrison.
Replaced poems are ‘A Poison Tree’, William Blake; ‘The Man He Killed’, Thomas Hardy; ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’, Wilfred Owen; ‘Punishment’, Seamus Heaney and ‘Phrase Book’, Jo Shapcott
Replaced poems are ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’, John Keats; ‘Spring and Fall: to a Young Child’, Gerard Manley Hopkins; ‘Ode’, Arthur O’Shaughnessy; ‘Red Roses’, Anne Sexton and ‘Farther’, Owen Sheers.
To support you with these changes, we’ve created some new poetry packs for each of the thematic clusters. These packs provide a summary of each of the new poems and background of the poets. There are useful question prompts to stimulate discussion of the poems in the classroom and to help develop the skills students need for the assessment. We’ve also included suggestions for how the new poems compare to and contrast other poems in the cluster to help build an understanding of how these new poems fit within the overarching theme.
For a reminder of how the GCSE poetry anthology is assessed, take a look at our assessment overview and updated sample assessment materials. You might find it helpful to go through these with students ahead of offering the updated practice papers for mocks and practice assessments:
To introduce these changes to the GCSE poetry anthology, we’re running a Thinking about Teaching GCSE Poetry webinar on 22 June. Please join us for an opportunity to find out more about these new poems and to ask us any questions you may have. You will be able to order your copies of the revised anthology on 30 June using this order form. We really hope that you and your students enjoy our revised anthology!
To find out more about our commitment to diversity and the wider changes we’re making to our Literature qualifications, take a look at our Diverse Texts page. If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_English. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support.
Keeley is responsible for a portfolio of English qualifications including both GCSEs. Keeley joined the English team in 2014, leading on the development of GCSE English Language and supporting first teaching of the new specification. Prior to joining OCR, Keeley spent two years teaching abroad. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, reading and swimming.