Women win (back) places on UK A-Level Syllabi

Jessy McCabe’s campaign to have women’s compositions included in the Edexcel A-Level syllabus has been successful (see our earlier post, here). After a sustained effort to recognise the work of a number of women composers, including Clara Schumann, Rachel Portman, Kate Bush, Anoushka Shankar and Kaija Saariah. McCabe’s campaign received national media coverage  and public support after she refused the argument that there just weren’t that many women in the canon.

In another piece of good news plans to marginalise feminism and women political thinkers in the politics curriculum have been reversed after a petition launched by A-level student June Eric-Udorie and a heated debate in the House of Commons, led by Dr Rupa Huq, MP for Ealing Central & Acton. Simone de Beauvoir, Hannah Arendt and Rosa Luxemburg have been confirmed among the thinkers joining Mary Wollstonecraft as part of a renewed acknowledgement of the role of women thinkers and feminist thought in the politics course.

Both of these students, when faced with a failure to represent women’s cultural work and authority in school curricula, recognised the power of education in shaping and defining authority and, in refusing to accept an unrepresentative canon, changed the shape of pedagogical canons for future generations of young people (and the older people they will become!).





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