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Carol Atherton is shattered. Her classroom may have emptied for the day, but the final push before A-levels and GCSE exams has sent her into “marking overdrive”. Head of English at a secondary school in Lincolnshire, she has been teaching for almost 30 years and has covered largely the same set texts her entire career, but her enthusiasm for the job – and the texts – remains undimmed. As times change and new generations appear, the relevance of the poems, plays and novels doesn’t fade, it evolves.

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