Unsuitable content in ‘A Level’ English Literature Texts

For the past two years the Education Board of Presbytery has been raising the unsuitability of English ‘A Level’ texts with the local Council for the Curriculum Examinations and Assessment [CCEA].

The CCEA ‘A Level’ course insists on a fictional post-1990 text being studied. The choices that are given are totally unsuitable for any young person never mind Christian young people.

A choice has to be made from four novels:

1. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien;

2. The Butcher Boy, by Patrick McCabe;

3. The Illusionist by Jennifer Johnston

4. Paddy Clarke Ha-Ha-Ha, by Roddy Doyle.

The storylines in these novels involve sodomy, domestic violence, attempted rape and an affair which results in a child being born. The Lord’s name is frequently taken in vain.

They are littered with expletives of the worst kind the whole way through, along with others obscenities and unsuitable names for ethnic groups.

We would call upon all parents of young people studying these novels for English ‘A Level’ to be aware of their unsuitable contents. There are no redeeming virtues in these storylines.

They are not included to warn against these sinful types of lifestyle or to discourage young people from going down a similar path. They are included simply to ‘spice up’ the story line and make it more appealing to young people in this vulgar age.

Sadly CCEA have been unwilling to take on board our objections and we have been left with no alternative but to seek to sit English ‘A Level’ exams with another examination board.

We would ask Christian parents to raise their objections to the content of these novels and to pray that our collective opposition will make CEA change their mind and introduce texts that are much more suitable. The more that we pray and object the greater the possibility of change.

For more details contact Rev McClung

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