Poor Children

Just lately I have been following Michael Rosen (ex children’s laureate, poet. author and educationalist) on Facebook. He cares about reading and children and is furious about the new primary curriculum. The spelling, grammar and punctuation (otherwise known as Spag) tests for Key Stages 1 and 2 introduce concepts that we never learnt in primary school and maybe not in secondary school and the worksheets that go with them are riddled with errors or inconsistencies. Six year olds will be tested on quite sophisticated grammar and punctuation. Sample test. Of course schools will be spending time teaching for the test when they could be enthusing children with a love of literature.

For key stage 2, children need to know about such things as noun phrases and frontal adverbials. What! The naming of parts for the sake of it. Yes, I know that was not a sentence but it can be useful to break the rules sometimes.

I am not against grammar teaching but please not at the expense of children enjoying books and reading. Parents are beginning to stand up to the DFE on this and there may be a large boycott of the tests. I hope so.

I have written to my MP, Nick Gibb (now known as the Minister for Exclamation Marks). Apparently in the new English language (as defined by the Tory Party) an exclamation mark can only appear after a phrase beginning with What or How!

The following would receive no marks – Tiger, Tiger burning bright, in the forest of the night – it should of course be burning brightly. Poetry is not a valid form of English.

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About Rosemary Noble

Writer, author, amateur historian and traveller
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