The OCR exam board has joined Penguin Random House's Lit in Colour campaign to make English Literature teaching more inclusive.
Launched last year by PRH alongside race equality think tank The Runnymede Trust, the programme is exploring how to increase student access to books by writers of colour and those from minority ethnic backgrounds.
Pearson has already joined and now OCR is also partnering on the campaign. The board says it has been talking to English teachers about ways of improving the diversity of the texts English Literature students engage with.
At A Level, OCR plans to add five new texts to its wider text lists, in addition to current texts by writers of colour including Toni Morrison, Andrea Levy and Zora Neale Hurston. For GCSE, it is asking teachers for views on introducing a new set play text and refreshing its poetry anthology with a range of new work by authors of colour.
OCR is also establishing a new set of principles and guidelines for anyone involved in producing assessment materials, such as question papers, to encourage equality and diversity through positive representation. One of its guidelines requires a fair balance of genders, races, ages, disabled/non-disabled people and cultures of characters portrayed in images.
Jill Duffy, OCR c.e.o, said: “We’re honoured to join the excellent Lit in Colour campaign and to play our part in helping to give young people greater access to works by authors of colour.
“We plan to work shoulder to shoulder with our Lit in Colour partners to support access to a more diverse English Literature curriculum in a number of ways. It’s an exciting time to be joining the campaign and for OCR’s broad approach to improving diversity.”
Zaahida Nabagereka, Lit in Colour programme manager, said: “We’re really excited to bring OCR on as a named partner for Lit in Colour. This campaign is all about starting a conversation and then following through with meaningful actions that will result in students having more access to literature by writers of colour; OCR has already started those conversations, and we want to do our best to support them through the rest of the process as the campaign develops.”