Letter: New curriculum's emphasis on grammar

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Sir: There are teachers who will welcome the proposals in the leaked national curriculum of English ('English curriculum rewritten', 3 February). Teachers who want an undemanding job, giving pupils regular doses of copying from punctuation books, will support the proposals. They will be able to sit ticking neat sentences or reading the paper in front of a silent class.

Those teachers who think children are unintelligent because they say 'ain't' and 'shouldn't of' also will find comfort in the new orders. Schools that have had difficulties recruiting specialist English teachers will be able to give a 'bit of English' to any teacher with a spare lesson on the timetable because they can fill the time by practising exams questions for the SATs. Those who control school budgets can instruct English departments to blow the dust off their sets of Fifties primers.

Pupils' achievement will suffer if we return to these methods. Fortunately, the vast majority of English teachers are far more professional. If there is to be a rise in standards, it will be because teachers have worked against the mean- spirited proposals of a handful of ultra-conservatives on the national curriculum review body.

Yours faithfully,

A. GIBBONS

London, SW17

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