About the series
This booklet is one of a series about the teaching of language, literacy and English to children and young people aged 3 to 19.The aim of the series is to inspire and inform debate about school strategy.The booklets draw on seminal studies and development work carried out over many years.
The series is a co-publication between the United Kingdom Literacy Association and Owen Education, an independent school improvement agency.
About this booklet
This booklet welcomes grammar teaching which is pitched at an appropriate level for the age and intellectual maturity of learners, and which introduces learners to grammatical concepts and terminology in the context of authentic and pleasure-giving texts. However, it insists that competence in language is prior to analysis of language, and respects the substantial body of research which has shown that grammar teaching consisting of decontextualised drills and exercises brings no benefit in terms of competence
The booklet describes the broad terms of the debate over grammar teaching which has preoccupied English teaching over many decades. It criticises aspects of the new National Curriculum orders for English, introduced in 2014 or to be introduced in 2015, as regards their requirements on grammar. It also criticises aspects of the recently introduced grammar, punctuation and spelling test for pupils at Year 6. It ends with proposals for an alternative curriculum for grammar teaching, properly rigorous but also realistic, which lightens the burden of grammar teaching for teachers and pupils in primary schools, while making greater demands on teachers and students in secondary schools.