You’re grappling with extreme grammar terms because our children are tested on them in their SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) SATs paper, which was introduced by the government in 2013. And the only reason SATs exist is so that government can judge schools against each other.
In other words, every young child in England goes through this torment because it’s the only way the government can think of to measure schools.
Most teachers, heads and linguists, along with many well-loved children’s writers like Michael Rosen and Philip Pullman, think the SPAG test is at worst damaging and at best a (cruel) joke. The very worst thing about it is that it influences how our children from the age of six or seven are taught to write.
The test is so nonsensical that to have any hope of passing, children from a very young age have to start thinking about their ideas and stories in terms of (don’t start screaming here) fronted adverbials, subordinating clauses and conjunctions. It reduces our living language – English – to a dead-on-the-slab series of right or wrong answers, and risks killing creativity and self-expression in our children before they have had a chance to form properly.
The story goes that having decided English children needed to up their game in grammar, the then Education Secretary Michael Gove asked grammarians (grammar nerds rather than teachers and educational experts) to devise a new SATs test. The result is what homeschooling parents throughout the land are holding their heads in horror about today. Lessons that almost everyone agrees are so absurd, we wonder why this ever had to happen. It didn’t need to happen; it shouldn’t have happened and it’s time to stop it happening any more.
To help put an end to SPAG and the other formal tests that weigh down our children, please join our campaign here!