Fronted adverbials: the bugbear of English grammar teaching

For some years now, with the regularity of clockwork, opinion pieces appear in the press about grammar teaching. The dystopian language used in these articles might lead you to think that children are subjected to unspeakable suffering: a recent piece laments the “full horror of the primary grammar curriculum”, another talks about the “Kafkaesque grammar system” used in our schools which “kills the English language”. The writers of these pieces often pride themselves on being successful writers or journalists, and on not knowing what a fronted adverbial is.

Why is there so much resistance to the teaching of grammar in schools?

Well, one answer is politics. Grammar was brought into the national curriculum by Michael Gove in 2014 with the aim of bringing some rigour back into teaching and the use of language. The curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2 specifies a range of grammatical concepts that children need to learn. Some of these are very basic, such as ‘noun’, ‘adjective’ and ‘verb’; others are less well known, such as ‘determiner’. Children are tested at the end of Year 6 in the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (Spag) exam. Many teachers feel, with some justification, that the tests are unimaginative tick-box affairs, and are designed to test them, rather than their charges, and to rank their schools. Some parents feel that the terminology isn’t particularly appropriate for very young children and stymies their creativity. Labels that have been singled out as being particularly objectionable are ‘subjunctive’ and ‘fronted adverbial’. The latter has become the bugbear of English grammar teaching.

What is a fronted adverbial? To explain this, let’s look at this simple sentence: Ben met Jo last night. You can conceive of this sentence as a miniscule play in which there are two actors: Ben and Jo. We can’t do without actors in a play, so in English we can’t say *met Jo last night or *Ben met last night. (Linguists use an asterisk to indicate an ungrammatical sentence.) In grammatical terms the actors Ben and Jo carry the functions of subject and object in this sentence. But what about the phrase last night? This phrase is not an actor in this sentence, but it provides some further background information about ‘when’ Ben met Jo. A phrase or clause in English that gives information about ‘when’, ‘why’ or ‘how’ something happened is called an adverbial. This is also a grammatical function label. Typically, these are optional and occur at the end of a sentence, as in my example. However, we can also put this phrase at the front of the sentence: Last night, Ben met Jo. We now have a ‘fronted adverbial’. The idea isn’t hard to grasp, but the label is admittedly off-putting for young children.

Why is it useful to teach young children about fronted adverbials? Well, one answer is that it helps children to write better. After all, if you don’t always put an adverbial at the end of a sentence, but sometimes at the front or in the middle, your writing will become more varied and potentially more interesting. Linguists study how language users can convey information effectively under the heading of ‘pragmatics’.

Many teachers see the point. In a thread on Twitter one of them writes in Twitterese (which has a grammar of its own!):

“There are things I’d change about the National Curriculum. About what we teach/what fits into the school day. But. Fronted adverbials. Learning what type of words can be used where and how. I see the point, right there. In the stuck child going, ah ha, LATER THAT DAY! SNEAKILY! BEHIND THE SHIP! And writing on. For the way they can help unlock the gate, I kind of like ’em. I know I’m out of sync with most of Writer Twitter. But. Here I am.”

Read the full thread here.

But hold on, I hear you say, are you not one of the authors of a recent UCL report that found that teaching young children English grammar doesn’t benefit their narrative writing? Yes, indeed, I was one of the investigators – in fact the only grammarian – on the project Grammar and Writing in England’s National Curriculum. This involved a randomised control trial in which Year 2 children in London schools were taught 10 grammar lessons, while pupils in a control group were taught their regular (‘business as usual’) grammar classes. We asked children to do a writing test before and after the intervention, and we found that there was no measurable improvement in their narrative writing. We did, however, find some improvement in what is called ‘sentence combining’, i.e. putting together two or more separate sentences to form a single new sentence (for example, We went to the park. The weather was great. >  We went to the park because the weather was great), though the effect was not statistically significant.

I cannot deny that the outcome of the research was disappointing. I lead a team of linguists at UCL who created the Englicious website with free-to-use English language resources that aim to teach grammar in a fun and engaging way. The 10 grammar lessons I mentioned above were specially created on the Englicious platform. My hope had been that teaching grammar using a dedicated set of lessons would result in students using more varied sentence structures. For this age group (6-7 year olds) we did not get a positive result as far as narrative writing is concerned.

However, unlike what some of the newspaper headlines suggested, we cannot conclude from this research that grammar teaching is without value. We need much more research to find out whether perhaps grammar teaching should start in a later year, perhaps Year 4, and has a more direct effect on that age group and later ones. Importantly, as with all subjects taught in schools, it’s crucial that the teaching of grammar is engaging and fun, and that it is made relevant to young children by making reference to stories, poems and songs.

The qualitative part of our research, which didn’t make the headlines in the papers, showed that the teachers and pupils who took part in the intervention valued the interactive teaching resources that we made available for them, and that they had a positive impact on the children’s progress.  Teachers noticed their pupils’ enjoyment of learning about grammar and speaking confidently about it, and this included lower ability and ‘reluctant’ learners. As part of the project I visited several primary schools and witnessed some wonderful, brilliant and imaginative teaching fully engaging the pupils, for example when they were asked to ‘act out’ an adverb in the classroom: “Walk across the room sadly”, “Wave your arms slowly”. We need more of this.

Learning about grammar is no different from many of the other subjects that are taught in schools. We teach them because they are relevant to us. Language plays a crucial role in all our lives, and hence knowing something about how it works is very valuable. This is especially true when we set out to learn other languages. The intentions of the linguists who designed the curriculum were focused on improving children’s literacy by introducing knowledge of grammar into schools. There is no doubt that some of the specifications of the curriculum need to be revised, especially with regard to some of the terminology, and the testing regime is also in need of overhaul.

But those who have been saying that they have become successful individuals despite never having learned about fronted adverbials miss the point entirely.

Link: Grammar and writing in England’s National Curriculum


Long read: do teachers really hate teaching grammar?

Could it be that a teacher’s hatred of teaching grammar has more to do with insecurity, lack of subject knowledge and political frustration than fronted adverbials? Bas Aarts argues it may well do.

[This article first appeared in TES on 4 March 2018. I didn’t write the short summary above, which I feel is misleading. It seems to be blaming teachers for insecurity and a lack of subject knowledge, which is not what I say in the article.]

Teachers hate teaching grammar. At least that is the impression you might get if you venture into the comments section under any article about the teaching of grammar in our schools.

For a good example, just see a recent Grammar Bites column by Mark Brenchley and Ian Cushing. It concerned the difference between a conjunctive adverb and a subordinating conjunction, which was written in response to teachers’ queries about this issue.

They are knowledgeable and deeply passionate about effective literacy teaching and experts in giving advice: they work in universities studying how to help teachers teach grammar and both offer free resources to teachers.

Yet, the comments underneath their article and on social media were mostly extremely negative, and sometimes rude.

Teachers posted to call the teaching of grammar: “appalling”, “madness”, “codswallop”, and one stated that “a whole generation is having their childhood scarred by this unnecessary nonsense”.

Reasons to hate teaching grammar

There are, of course, valid reasons why teachers feel negatively about teaching grammar.

Insecurity and frustration are key factors. During teacher training, very little time is spent on grammar, simply because the ITT curriculum is so jam-packed already. And many people of teaching age did not get a thorough foundation of grammar taught to them at school.

Expecting teachers to teach the National Curriculum (NC) specifications without any support from the government (apart from a glossary of grammatical terms, which is non-statutory, and has only brief explanations of the terminology), was madness.

The situation is made worse by the fact that the resources that are ‘out there’ – that have filled the vacuum left by the government – have been produced by stakeholders with a commercial interest. They have often been created in haste by non-specialists, and are frequently inaccurate as a result.

And maddeningly, the internet doesn’t help when teachers look up grammatical terms, because they will often get several different answers to a question they ask, and it’s hard to know which answer is correct.

Then there is the perfectly reasonable question as to whether having a knowledge of grammar is necessary for school children.

Many teachers believe the answer to be ‘no’, so, for them, having to teach it is particularly galling.

Grammar responses

On the first point about the lack of assistance, I have the utmost sympathy: resources and professional support should have been supplied by the government.

On the second question, you will no doubt expect me to disagree with those teachers. But I don’t: the answer to whether knowledge of grammar is ‘necessary’ is emphatical: ‘no’.

Some well-known authors have said, “I never learned any grammar and look at me now: I’m a famous author.” And, of course, they are right. You can have a successful career in any field and be happy, without knowing any grammar.

But this misses the point.

After all, the same can be said about studying history, art and music: you can get old without ever having heard about the Great Fire of London, van Gogh or Mozart. It’s almost impossible to identify any evidence-based positive benefits of having some knowledge about these subjects.

But I hope you agree that learning about them enriches your life.

What we need to persuade teachers of is that this is also true for grammar, and this is especially so because we use grammar all the time in our daily lives.

Political angles

Is the grammar taught at Key Stages 1 and 2 too hard?

Yes, some of it is, and parts of the curriculum ought to be changed, as became clear when the schools minister had to issue a clarification about so-called exclamative sentences.

A good case can be made for simplifying the KS1 curriculum, and for moving some of the concepts to KS2. However, it should be remembered that across KS1 and KS2, there are only around 40 terms that pupils need to learn, and these include many intuitively easy-to-understand terms such as ‘noun’, ‘adjective’ and ‘verb’.

True, there are also some harder terms, such as ‘subordinating conjunction’, but none of them is harder than some of the mathematics terminology that children need to learn at KS2, such as ‘place value’, ‘equivalent fractions’, ‘negative numbers’ and other very abstract maths concepts.

But even if you agree with me about this, you may point to the fact that children are tested on these grammatical terms, and “testing puts too much stress on children, and we shouldn’t subject them to that”.

An argument against tests is not, though, an argument against the teaching of grammar.

But I will address the testing point all the same. There is some evidence that the KS2 tests do not unduly put stress on children. In April 2016, the BBC carried out some research on Sats testing. They asked students ‘What do you think about tests at school?’ and ‘How do you feel when you take tests at school?’

When the results were released on 9 May 2016, the BBC headline, was “Primary pupils ‘feel test pressure’ – survey” (the link to the Com Res test results was removed from this website).

We might ask if this is the right headline when 60 per cent of children said they either didn’t mind (48 per cent) or enjoyed (12 per cent) taking the tests? Some of you will point to the results that show that 59 per cent were nervous and 39 per cent were worried, and will say that this is unacceptable for young children, but surely it’s natural to feel some nervousness or worry before a test – and that’s something they need to be prepared for in life.

To my mind, a far more interesting outcome is that only a minority of children (27 per cent) felt stressed, and that 45 per cent were either confident, happy or excited about the tests.

To counter again, teachers may point to the political angle. The Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) curriculum, and the associated tests, were introduced by Michael Gove – who has never had a wide fan base among teachers – during his tenure as education secretary.

It’s quite likely that there were indeed dubious political reasons for introducing the GPS test: namely, to test schools, rather than pupils, as Bethan Marshall has argued (‘The politics of testing; English in Education 51.1, 27-43, 2017), but the time has come to ask: have there nevertheless been any positive effects of the GPS curriculum in UK schools?

I believe that this is the case.

The case for grammar

So what’s good about grammar teaching?

First of all, interestingly, as research by Huw Bell has shown (‘Teacher knowledge and beliefs about grammar: a case study of an English primary school’; English in Education 50.2, 148-163, 2016), school children actually enjoy learning about grammar, as this quotation from an interview with a teacher shows:

They love [grammar]. And I think it’s down to the teacher’s enthusiasm – and I am enthusiastic about it. A little girl said to me the other day ‘this is a present continuous,’ and I said ‘is it?’ I’ll be honest, I had to look it up. She said ‘I looked it up,’ and she must have learned it that way. . . I will stop a lesson if there’s a particularly good sentence. ‘Stop! Listen to this, listen to this!’ You big it up, and the pleasure the children get from that is just remarkable. Then, once you’ve grabbed them they will start producing really good sentences. (Jan)

Kimberly Safford reports similar sentiments (‘Teaching grammar and testing grammar in the English primary school: the impact on teachers and their teaching of the grammar element of the statutory test in spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG)’; Changing English 23.1, 3-21):

Children love the SPaG … Which is really odd. It is quite strange … kids really enjoy it. They look forward to their SPaG test. It’s one [test] they enjoy doing.(Teacher R)

When it came to doing the SPaG test they found it a lot less stressful than the others [statutory tests]. And that didn’t necessarily mean they achieved quite highly, they just found it less pressure … It’s so funny. We dread doing it and they really like it. (Teacher A)

Sure, this is just anecdotal evidence, and more research needs to be done, but these kind of thoughts seldom make it into the debate about grammar teaching.

Another positive benefit of teaching grammar is that it is immensely helpful for learning modern foreign languages.

In this Brexit age, it is more important than ever that children learn foreign languages, though the sad trend is that MFL teaching is declining.

Thirdly, because the grammar of English often involves a kind of puzzle-solving – a bit like maths – learning about it helps children to develop sound analytical skills.

Finally, we now find that children’s knowledge of language is having positive effects at KS3-5 in secondary schools. Children have been empowered to speak about language and literature using a newly acquired linguistic metalanguage, in such a way that the terms ‘pronoun’, ‘phrase’, ‘subordinate clause’, and yes, ‘fronted adverbial’, will be as useful as ‘metaphor’, ‘metonomy’,  and ‘bathos’ for the study of literature.

Here’s an interesting quote from teacher Mark in Bell’s article:

The terminology enables you to. . . give them more effective, more constructive feedback on what [children’s] next steps are, and how they can improve.

In this connection, while talking about coaching a student, teacher Elaine says:

He’d just have a subordinate clause, full stop. . . I remember sitting down with him quite a few times going through a complex sentence, and I was able to articulate to him where he’s going wrong. And we went through subordinate clause, main clause, and I was able to say ‘here’s a sentence, show me the subordinate [clause], show me the main [clause]. Now show me your sentence. Where does it fit?’ And I vividly remember it because it was the only way I could get through to him. Whereas before [I could use this terminology] my favourite line was probably ‘it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t read right.’ And they’d say ‘what do you mean?’ And what do I mean?

These kind of comments should be eye-openers.

Will learning about grammar improve children’s writing? Safford writes: “On the positive side, teachers reported improvements in pupils’ technical skills as writers and pupils’ pleasure in acquiring and using metalanguage. Teachers who contextualise the study of grammar in the reading of literature and discussions about real-life texts reported a positive impact on pupils’ speaking and writing.”

This is in line with the findings of Debra Myhill and her team at the University of Exeter, and also what my team at University College London found when teaching subject knowledge CPD.

However, my colleague Dominic Wyse at the UCL Institute of Education recently published an interesting paper on this topic with Carole Torgerson in which they suggest that ‘traditional grammar teaching’ has no effect on writing.

No right answer?

To my mind, the jury’s still out on that question, partly because the notion of ‘traditional grammar teaching’ is slippery. This is why I’m working with Dominic and his colleagues on putting together a research project to gather more evidence on this issue.

In the meantime, I think that we need a more balanced and nuanced debate about grammar teaching in schools. Grammar is often seen as a sock puppet to be beaten when mention is made of testing, political interference or the Govian curriculum. The danger is that we lose sight of the positive reasons for teaching grammar.

English Grammar for Teachers and Teaching English Grammar in Context

The Englicious Team at UCL offers two courses for teachers at primary and secondary level (KS 1-5): English Grammar for Teachers and Teaching English Grammar in Context, and we also offer INSET courses for schools.

We are now taking bookings for the 2017-2018 programme:


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Changes in the use of the subjunctive

Here’s a grammar question for you. Which form of the verb be would you use in the first sentence below, and which form of the verb take in the second?

I wish that Kirsty … here to celebrate with us.

It’s essential that Sam … his phone with him.

Prescriptive grammars, which tell you how you should and shouldn’t use language, will say that you must use were in the first sentence and take in the second.

I wish that Kirsty were here to celebrate with us.

It’s essential that Sam take his phone with him.

oup_56043_croppedThe forms were and take in the second pair of sentences are often called subjunctive verb forms which indicate that a particular situation is unreal or not the case (Kirsty is not at the party; Sam hasn’t (yet) taken his phone with him), but is nevertheless wished-for. The second example above illustrates the use of the so-called mandative subjunctive to indicate the importance or necessity of something happening. Subjunctive verb forms will be familiar to you if you speak one or more of the romance languages, such as Spanish, Italian, or Portuguese.

But are were and take the only correct forms in the sentences above? More descriptively oriented grammar books will tell you that you can also use was and takes, or should take, at least in British English:

I wish that Kirsty was here to celebrate with us.

It’s essential that Sam takes his phone with him.

It’s essential that Sam should take his phone with him.

The first sentence uses the regular third person past tense form of the verb be, and the second uses the regular third person present tense form of take. In the third sentence we have an example of mandative should, which offers an alternative way of expressing necessity. These sentences would sound perfectly normal to many (especially younger) British speakers, but they would sound ungrammatical, or at least unusual, to many American ears.

Writing in the early part of the twentieth century, the Fowler brothers famously claimed in their book The King’s English that the mandative subjunctive should be avoided because it can be ‘dangerous’ (!) and is often ‘unpleasantly formal’. In any case, they argued, the subjunctive is unnecessary and about to disappear from the English language. It turned out that the Fowlers were wrong, and that not only did the subjunctive survive, it had a revival in British English during the second part of the twentieth century. For some, this caused anxiety, as this passage from Catherine Nesbitt from the early 1960s shows:

Today I would like to draw attention to something far more serious, the unexpected revival of the Subjunctive Mood, which seems to have begun in this country less than ten years ago and is now spreading so rapidly that, if left unchecked, it will do real damage to the structure of the language, a far more harmful thing than any craze for the latest fashionable word.

The revival of the subjunctive is quite surprising because to many modern ears it does sound rather quaint and formal. So what could be the reasons for it? Linguists have speculated that it may have happened under the influence of American English, in which the subjunctive was always more frequent. American English has been influencing British English ever since films, music and television programmes made their way across the ocean. However, some recent research suggests that the increased use of the subjunctive has now stalled. Who knows, in the longer term the Fowlers may still be proved right about the subjunctive disappearing from the English language.

This blog post first appeared on the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary blog Spread the Word:

Change the tests, but don’t ditch grammar

This time last year the Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling test (GPS, popularly called SPaG) was in the news almost every week. The DfE was mocked for not being able to prevent the leaking of a test, the Schools Minister Nick Gibb couldn’t answer a grammar question on live radio, and parents kept their 6-year olds at home to boycott the Key Stage 1 test. Numerous well-known writers, poets and education specialists railed against the tests and their inadequacy. Now, it’s spring and the debate has flared up again. Last month the House of Commons Education Committee published its report on primary assessment. After hearing a large number of experts who made clear that they did not like the tests, the Committee recommended that the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) review them, and that the KS2 test, like the KS1 test, be made non-statutory. (Did you spot the subjunctive verb? I’ll come back to it later.) In May the Guardian published a piece by Warwick Mansell on the SPaG tests in which the arguments in the debate were rehearsed. And the next day another piece appeared in the Guardian.

It is unfortunate that the debate on grammar teaching and testing is muddled because there are several strands to it which are confused or ignored. The first two strands concern whether grammar should be taught in schools and, if so, how. The third and fourth strands are the questions of whether and how it should be tested.

Let’s look at each of these strands.

Why do we teach grammar in schools? Critics say that the curriculum is already full and that we can do without grammar. Of course, it’s true that we can lead a happy and fulfilling life without knowing anything about subordinating conjunctions or determiners. But the same could be said for history. You can go get to the age of 95 without ever having heard of Henry VIII or the Great Fire of London or knowing what a parliament is. However, nobody would deny that learning about history enriches us and helps us to understand the world as it was, and how it is today. But have you noticed that nobody ever asks for evidence of the beneficial effects of teaching history? We just assume, quite reasonably, that knowing about history is important. For me learning about grammar is as important as learning about history. One reason is so obvious that it almost doesn’t need pointing out, and this is that grammar plays a central role in our lives, as part of the language(s) we speak. When we learn about grammar we learn something about ourselves because only human beings have language. We use language all the time, all day long, talking to friends and family, writing shopping lists, text messages and school essays. It makes sense for all of us, not just school children, to know something about how our language works, how the bits and pieces fit together. And of course, having a knowledge of grammar is also indispensable for learning foreign languages. If you teach Spanish and your students don’t know what an adjective is, it is harder to explain that they should order dos cervezas frías, not dos frías cervezas in a bar in Spain.

For a long time critics have argued that teaching grammar stifles children’s creativity. It’s better for them to engage with stories and poems and learn about language in that way. Grammar teaching is sneeringly called the ‘naming of the parts’, so that being able to label a word as an adjective is no different from knowing that the red car that just passed you in the street is a Ford Mondeo. Well-known writers such as Michael Rosen have made this point. E.L. Kennedy is on the record as saying that she has no idea what fronted adverbials are. It seems that for her the logical conclusion is that nobody else therefore needs to know what they are either. On Twitter people have said that they have an English degree from Oxford, and that they can’t answer the questions on the SPaG test. They seem to be saying that having an Oxford degree means that you know everything that needs to be known. As for the person who said that the primary tests would have stumped Jane Austen, well….

There is recent research that suggests that kids very much enjoy learning about grammar. When you point this out to critics and journalists it is steadfastly ignored.

Here are some quotes from Huw Bell (2016) citing teachers:

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And in Kimberley Safford’s (2016) article much the same points are made:

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It’s time some serious attention is given to this kind of research.

The last quotation above points to an issue that to my mind lies at the crux of the complaints we have been hearing about the tests: teachers feel insecure about teaching grammar. When the new National Curriculum was published people quickly noticed that apart from traditional terms such as ‘noun’, ‘adjective’ and ‘verb’, it also contained some new terms that are in line with the terminology used in modern linguistics, such as ‘conjunction’, ‘determiner’, and ‘adverbial’. From a linguist’s point of view this is very welcome, but it understandably caused alarm among teachers because they were suddenly faced with having to teach a subject about which they weren’t taught much themselves during teacher training, so they can be forgiven for feeling unhappy about it. It is a major failing of the government that it has not offered teachers any support on how to teach grammar.

Here we come to the second strand of the debate, namely how to teach grammar. Education specialists have pointed out that teaching grammatical terminology has no benefits at all. They say that it won’t help children to write better or read better. This may well be true, but much more research is needed to establish this. But even if turns out that grammar teaching isn’t directly beneficial, that doesn’t mean that we should ditch it. We teach history or literature, because these subject have an intrinsic value, and the same is true for grammar. When the critics talk about grammar teaching you find that there is often an unstated assumption, namely that when teachers teach grammar they must be teaching the ‘naming of the parts’ and no more than that. For older generations this was often what grammar teaching was like. But grammar pedagogy is much more than just teaching terminology, and has moved on from the way it was taught in the 1950s. Grammar terminology can now be taught using online resources which get children to learn about grammar in a playful and engaging way, using technology that is also used in games (see Englicious). Of course we do still need to teach some terminology, because it’s useful to have a metalanguage to talk about a subject, in the same way that it is useful to know what a metaphor is when you talk about literature, or what a monarchy is when you study history. There’s nothing to stop teachers from teaching grammar in a more contextualized way by using literary texts such as poems, plays and songs. As we have found at UCL in the CPD courses we offer, when teachers are offered the right kind of support to teach grammar they begin to enjoy it and see the benefits.

What about the tests? It is true that these are problematic in various ways. People’s views of the tests are coloured by the fact that they were brought in by Michael Gove, who was disliked by many teachers. It was Gove who insisted that the subjunctive be taught in schools, despite linguists advising him not to include it in the curriculum. Admittedly, the tests are somewhat unimaginative when children are asked to identify word classes or underline subordinate clauses, not least because it leads to teaching to the test, and the results of the tests affect how teachers and their schools are judged. So the tests need reform both in the way they are set, and in the way they are used.

Should we scrap the tests altogether, as some people have suggested? To my mind that would not be the right thing to do, because it would probably mean the end of grammar teaching in schools, and for the reasons given above that would be a shame.


1. As I have mentioned in different places on this blog, I should make clear that over the past few years I have advised the DfE on the SPaG tests by being a member of a Test Review Group. In this group a large number of experts, which includes teachers and literacy advisors, scrutinize the questions that will appear on the tests to ensure that they are clear and fair. The tests are looked at by other experts too, such as test specialists, statisticians, inclusion experts, and so on. There are several phases that draft tests go through over a two year period, before they are used in schools.

2. Huw Bell (2016) ‘Teacher knowledge and beliefs about grammar: a case study of an English primary school’, English in Education 50.2, 148-163.


3. Kimberley Safford (2016) ‘Teaching grammar and testing grammar in the English primary school: the impact on teachers and their teaching of the grammar element of the statutory test in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)’. Changing English, 23.1, 3-21.

See also: How Bell and Steph Ainsworth (2017) ‘Grammar’s best kept secrets: what every primary teacher should know’, NATE Teaching English, Primary Matters.