Prior to starting the new specification, it seemed as if there were open vistas of teaching time, but in the first run-through, it didn’t feel like that.
The second run-through of a linear course has taught me the value of forgetting and relearning texts to provide richer knowledge and understanding of literature.
In the face of the increasingly "scientific" and functional ways our working lives are organised, we need contact with genuine passion for art and life which existed long before the word "passion" became a cliché on a Ucas form.
Too much thinking behind exam reform rests on the assumption that to provide rigour you have to make students perform complicated combinations of tasks, hence the emphasis on comparison.
For the curriculum, it could signal the reconstitution of literature to suit political, accountability and marketing ends.
Against such a backdrop of functionality, it was refreshing to read the consultation report from 2014 in which the discourse from Professor Mark E Smith, the consultation chair, was more about developing “interesting, appealing and 'colourful' specifications” – that learning and teaching might be pleasurable.
The hook for me though was the introduction of crime fiction by two exam boards.
The choice of the novel was the deal-maker as I compared a specification with Kate Atkinson’s wonderful by Mary Elizabeth Braddon .
It’s interesting that we’ve come to speak of the new specifications as "reformed", a recognition that change was not solely about innovation, but recapturing elements of past courses that appealed to politicians educated pre-Curriculum 2000.
When applied to meat and fish "re-formed" means that the natural fillets are somewhat mashed up and moulded into marketable shapes.