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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 May, 2003, 14:09 GMT 15:09 UK
Poet laureate set for school role
Poet Laureate Andrew Motion
Motion has criticised the educational "rat wheel"
Poet laureate Andrew Motion is to be recruited to help inspire schoolchildren to read poetry after attacking the way literature is taught.

He has held discussions with Education Secretary Charles Clarke on ways to get pupils more involved and enthused by great writers.

Mr Motion is likely to go into classrooms to give readings himself in the hope that it will breathe life into words that have previously only been seen on the page.

In March, he complained that budding writers at schools and universities were trapped in an educational "rat wheel".

He said many had too little time to read the classics, focusing just on set texts that they knew they would be examined on.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education and Skills confirmed Mr Clarke had been talking to Mr Motion.

It's talking to an expert in the field about what enthuses him about his poetry and how that can be communicated to children
Department for Education and Skills
They were discussing "the idea that it would be really fantastic for children to be able to hear poets read their own poems".

"It's about enthusing children," she said.

Mr Motion was not giving advice on how English lessons should be run or what should be on the curriculum, she added.

It was about "what enthuses him about his poetry and how that can be communicated to children".

The spokeswoman would not confirm which other literary figures had spoken to Mr Clarke, but the Sunday Times reported that Philip Pullman had also been approached.

In February, almost 90 children's authors expressed their concern at "the growing domination of the school curriculum by national tests".

Motion did something similar under previous Education Secretary David Blunkett and poets such as Wes Magee have regularly been going into schools for years.

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21 Feb 03  |  Education
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26 Mar 03  |  England
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09 May 03  |  Education
Poet extols verse's 'healing' quality
04 Oct 01  |  Entertainment
Poets go into classrooms
28 Mar 00  |  Education


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