Primary schools labelled a ‘disgrace’ over speling row

PRIMARY schools across North Somerset have been labelled ‘a disgrace’ for ignoring basic grammar and spelling mistakes in pupils’ work – in a bid to make children feel good about themselves.

Teachers are failing to tell students when they are making obvious errors, saying they want learning to be a ‘positive’ experience.

The local education authority says it is a ‘judgement call’ by teachers to decide when to ignore the mistakes and that not all its schools decide to adhere to the guidance.

But one Worle parent, whose children are of primary school age, says his son regularly returns home with ‘keep up the good work’ written below a catalogue of uncorrected spelling and grammar mistakes.

The parent, who does not wish to be named, said: “This is a disgrace.

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“How are my children supposed to learn when they don’t know they have made mistakes?

“One of my children was coming home with multiple, basic, errors in his work and he didn’t realise he had done anything wrong.

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“I don’t have a go at my children for mistakes in their work, but point it out in a constructive way – at least then they won’t get to secondary school and not be able to string a sentence together.”

North Somerset Council says a number of its schools are following national best practise by checking that a child has understood the key elements of their lessons and rather than focusing on spelling or punctuation checks.

But the Mercury has seen one set of advice for a North Somerset primary school from Ofsted, the national education watchdog, which told the school at the end of last year that it needs to improve by ‘making sure teachers’ marking clearly tells pupils how to improve their work’.

The council adds that teachers mark students’ work according to the objective in that type of lesson, so grammar and punctuation would be less important in maths, for example.

A spokesman said: “Teachers want to encourage children to enjoy learning and that is why marking their work aims to be a positive experience, praising what is good, rather than picking up on all the negatives.”

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