He is currently doing a part of the Eng Lit GCSE which involves comparing a Shakespeare play with a certain gothic novel. I have read both books, but would have been highly challenged by the essay title he has been set.
As someone who had to teach that exact topic, I think perhaps therein lies the answer. Comparing one Shakespeare play with one gothic novel is such a crazy idea that many teachers hate the whole idea. What is the point?
That is why the essay title is challenging - doing that kind of thing puts so many children off, and as a teacher I was very frustrated by it. As I was when I had to teach a comparison between Wilfred Owen's 'Dulce et decorum est' and a scene from Macbeth. It's one reason I'm not currently teaching at all. Study great works of literature in context and in their own right
, but once we reduce them to glib and meaningless 'comparisons' across several centuries, with young people who may have barely read beyond Harry Potter, then in my view we really have lost the plot.
So while I know nothing of the schools here, I imagine the staff took a brave decision to move beyond formulaic and ultimately useless comparative analysis of works which if studied on their own would have yielded far more rewarding results.