Schools in the UK have “limited poetry book stock” and there are “many barriers” to the teaching of poetry, new research has found, with teachers most familiar with poets that they themselves studied at school.
The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and Macmillan Children’s Books carried out a survey of primary school teachers that found poetry is read aloud less than once a week in 93% of schools. In nearly 20% of schools, children never have the opportunity to hear a poem read aloud.
While 77% of teachers said that they taught poetry at least once per school term, the survey found that nearly a quarter of schools teach poetry only once a year or less, partly due to a lack of training and support for teachers.
The research is the first major look at poetry in primary schools since Poetry in Schools by Ofsted in 2007. CLPE and Macmillan’s research asked teachers – with responses primarily from England, but also a small number from Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and internationally – about their experience of teaching poetry, including their attitudes to it, how much they know about poets and anthologies and how it is incorporated into a teaching day.