Fronted Adverbials

I am rarely lost for words but I struggle to adequately express my dismay at the KS2 curriculum. Why test very young children on esoteric grammatical terms? Why this insistence on using ‘interesting words’? Because God forbid a child should ever say something simply. Oh no, they must pour in the ‘interesting words.’ They must learn how to make it complicated, make it difficult to read, rip out all the meaning and their natural raw honesty and replace it with cleverness. They must learn the art of using a lot of big words without actually saying anything. Then they’ll have a great future ahead of them as a politician, or a management consultant, or a PR spokesman for Monsanto.

And the practice of measuring daily reading with a timer – instead of just taking away their screens and surrounding them with books – makes me want to howl. Reading is an escape, not a duty.

But I always seem to come up short. I fail to express why it’s so important, why teaching about ‘fronted adverbials’ isn’t just unnecessary but positively harmful. Then I heard A. L. Kennedy on Radio Four and she said it all. This. All of this.

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