Remedial lessons in grammar planned for 25,000 teachers

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The Independent Online

Twenty-five thousand teachers are to be given lessons in grammar this autumn to improve standards in writing. All teachers of nine-year-olds will have the training next month.

Twenty-five thousand teachers are to be given lessons in grammar this autumn to improve standards in writing. All teachers of nine-year-olds will have the training next month.

The Government has drawn up a 200-page primer and a training video to raise the profile of traditional grammar teaching. Chris Woodhead, the chief inspector of schools, had warned that ministers risked missing their targets for 11-year-olds unless there was a big improvement in writing.

Ministers believe they need to introduce the lessons to compensate for past failings in teacher training. The guide, called Grammar for Writing, will be a reference. A one-day course will emphasise teaching of spelling and punctuation, and basic rules of composition such as correct use of sentences and paragraphs.

David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education, threatened to resign if schools do not meet targets in the three Rs for 11-year-olds, which include ensuring 80 per cent of children reach the expected standards in English. But in June inspectors from Ofsted, the Office for Standards in Education, said 25 per cent of teaching in writing during the national literacy hour in junior schools was unsatisfactory and many teachers emphasised creativity rather than grammar.

Only 54 per cent of 11-year-olds reached the expected standard or above in writing in last year's national curriculum tests, compared with 78 per cent in reading. Overall, 70 per cent of pupils reach the expected standard in English.

The guidelines say eight-year-olds be introduced to nouns and verbs. Adjectives and adverbs should be taught at nine and 10-year-olds should tackle prepositions and conjunctions.

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