Grammar policy, pedagogy and the primary-secondary transition: students’ perceptions and reflections: Ian Cushing & Marie Helks

We set out to trace the complex ways that current grammar policy in England gets perceived and recalled by primary (Year 6) and secondary (Year 7) students, by examining the reporting of their own lived experiences in a series of focus groups, and triangulating this with a bricolage of other data including policy documents, pedagogical materials and teacher surveys.

This research was generously funded by the UKLA, and we begin by extending our thanks to them. 

We focused on grammar because it was one of the major changes made in post-2010 curriculum and assessment reforms, as well as attracting significant academic and media interest. Our research was motivated by the absence of students’ perceptions and voices in the existing literature on grammar policies and pedagogies in schools and indeed, in UK language education policy research more broadly. Our research questions were:

  • What are primary and secondary school students’ perceptions of the kind of grammatical knowledge and grammar pedagogies that they experience?
  • To what extent do these perceptions align with the way that grammar is conceptualised within primary and secondary curricula?

Read the full findings of the report below.


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