25/01/2012 11:55 GMT | Updated 26/01/2012 01:10 GMT

Scotland's Students Made To Study Scottish Literature

Students in Scotland will now have to study Scottish Literature as part of the national curriculum, after years of the government allowing teachers to determine the syllabus.

The announcement comes as first minister Alex Salmond outlines the referendum plan for Scottish independence.

Most teachers already use Scottish texts alongside English classics but this is at their discretion. Now, to mark Burns Day, ministers have declared every pupil taking Higher and Nation 5 English Literature should answer at least one question on Scottish texts in future, the Herald Scotland reported.

Education secretary Michael Russell said it was "fitting" to make the announcement on Burns night.

"We want our children and young people to have the chance to learn about our literary tradition and to inspire the future generations of Scottish writers."

But there has already been mixed reactions at the proposal.

The Educational Institution of Scotland, one of the country's largest teaching unions, expressed concerns over the move.

Larry Flanagan, EIS Education Convener and an English teacher at Hillhead High, Glasgow, said: "The decision runs against the grain of Curriculum for Excellence which rejects the notion of the assessment tail wagging the curriculum dog and yet that is precisely what the Scottish government is attempting to do here.

"It seems to have abandoned the notion of allowing teachers professional freedom to determine the content of the curriculum in order to insist on its own political priorities.

"There doesn't seem to have been any consultation with English teachers on this matter, which is to be regretted."

Flanagan added there were concerns the arrangements would lead to a narrowing of choice for pupils which he said could have a "detrimental impact" on student performance.

"No-one would argue that Scotland's rich literary heritage should not be a key part of English studies in our schools but to insist on it being a compulsory assessment is misguided."