OCR is excited to start working with 20 schools and colleges who are planning to deliver our new, more inclusive texts at GCSE or A Level English Literature alongside our existing set texts.
Selected from schools and colleges who applied from across the country, the new 'ambassadors' will give OCR feedback on teaching the new texts. They’ll also develop networks with other schools and colleges to share good practice.
As well as the opportunity to help shape our qualifications and support, the ambassadors will receive a donation of a mini library: 300 copies each of engaging, high quality books by authors of colour aimed at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5. These are being generously provided by Lit in Colour, a joint campaign by Penguin Random House UK and The Runnymede Trust to make English Literature in schools more inclusive.
The new OCR ambassador schools are:
OCR Chief Executive Jill Duffy said: “Our new texts are an important part of our work on improving inclusivity in our English Literature qualifications, so we’re delighted to welcome our ambassadors to play a leading role. Tapping into their valuable experiences of teaching the texts in the classroom will be a fantastic way for us to understand what further support OCR can provide the schools and colleges who teach our qualifications.”
The ambassador programme was launched at the same time as a Lit in Colour book donation competition in which 200 OCR schools will also receive 30 copies of one of the texts on our A Level English Literature specification: Passing by Nella Larsen, Native Son by Richard Wright, Beloved by Toni Morrison, Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, The Lonely Londoners by Samuel Selvon, The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid and Brick Lane by Monica Ali.
The new ambassador schools are keen to start teaching the new OCR texts and share their experience with other schools and colleges:
Iain McGhie, Curriculum Principal at Burnley College, explained: “At the heart of it, the main reason we wanted to teach these texts and become an OCR ambassador school was to offer our students the opportunity to listen to voices that are more representative of their own lives, experiences and backgrounds. We often talk about the need for diversity in thinking; however, the literature we use as a vessel for this is more often than not from a narrow perspective. These texts will offer our students the chance to forge their own arguments and ideas relating to cultural and social issues relevant to them.”
Madeleine Champagnie from Thames Christian School said: “We are excited to embark on a new journey with OCR English. Being an ambassador school will mean that we can promote our love for speculative/science fiction not only with our students but also in collaboration with other schools.”
Zaahida Nabagereka, from publisher Penguin Random House, added: “Working with OCR to support their ambassador schools is key to the Lit in Colour campaign as it removes one of the four major barriers the 2021 research report listed that schools face when it comes to including texts by writers of colour in English lessons. We are happy to support the schools OCR has selected and keen to see how they create positive change in their classrooms with the donations.”
Lesley Nelson-Addy, from The Runnymede Trust, also commented: “It has been a pleasure working alongside OCR while they make these important changes to their specifications. Including texts like ‘The Lonely Londoners’ and ‘Passing’ to their specifications; inviting and supporting teachers and students to have nuanced conversations about race and racism through these new resources is an exciting difference in the way English literature will be taught in classrooms.”
We’ll be announcing opportunities for other schools and colleges to network with our new ambassadors in the coming weeks.