Gibb: All schools to fill shelves with literary classics

Gibb maintains that school bookshelves should contain novels that ‘inspire a lifelong love of reading’ and has challenged book publishers to make 100 classic books available at lower costs to schools.

While former Schools Minister David Laws counselled that the ‘whims of here-today, gone tomorrow’ politicians should not decide the direction of the school curriculum, Gibb argued ‘access to these wonderful novels shouldn’t be the preserve of the few’.

He added: “I want every secondary school to have a stock of classics such as Great Expectations, Pride and Prejudice and Jane Eyre so that whole classes across the country can enjoy them together.”

In response to the speech, Publisher Penguin has suggested 100 books it could offer for lower prices and Scholastic has also volunteered to make 26 books available for as little as £1.50.

In his speech, Gibb called for an end to the ‘anti-textbook ethos’ in English schools, and declared great lengths had been take to improve the quality of textbooks.

Such lengths include the release of new guidelines to create better textbooks, including the use of high-quality colour photographs and measures that support pupils learning rather than simply teaching them how to pass tests.

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