ACT - The Association of Christian Teachers

for Christians working in education

Has grammar teaching failed.

Has grammar teaching failed.

Two academics defend their claims of 'a significant and persistent mismatch' between government policy and the techniques proven to work in the classroom 


There are a limited number of hours in the school day, days in the school week, weeks in the school year. These are children’s precious years of education, so we have an absolute duty to ensure schooling is the best there is. Schooling requires curriculum content that is motivational for children, appropriate for what they need to learn and based on the best evidence of what works in the classroom.

In addition to more than 150 individually specified elements of spelling, and five pages of detailed specification of grammar (that are statutory), primary teachers in England are required to teach and assess their pupils’ knowledge of the following terms:

  • letter, capital letter 
  • word, singular, plural 
  • sentence 
  • punctuation, full stop, question mark, exclamation mark 
  • noun, noun phrase 
  • statement, question, exclamation, command 
  • compound, suffix 
  • adjective, adverb, verb 
  • tense (past, present) 
  • apostrophe, comma 
  • preposition, conjunction 
  • word family, prefix 
  • clause, subordinate clause 
  • direct speech 
  • consonant, consonant letter vowel, vowel letter 
  • inverted commas (or ‘speech marks’) 
  • determiner 
  • pronoun, possessive pronoun 
  • adverbial 
  • modal verb, relative pronoun 
  • relative clause 
  • parenthesis, bracket, dash 
  • cohesion, ambiguity 
  • subject, object 
  • active, passive 
  • synonym, antonym 
  • ellipsis, hyphen, colon, semi-colon, bullet points 

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