Spag test for 2021: Who or what at the DfE is a colon?

Sats may have been cancelled, but the past year has taught us all how to use an exclamation mark, says Colin Dowland

Colin Dowland

Covid and schools: No Sats - but here's a Spag test for the Covid generation

Earlier this month, Tes obtained a leaked copy of the maths Pandemic Rhetorical Assessment Tests (Prats), which the Department for Education has said will replace this year’s end-of-year primary Sats tests. 

This week, an insider at the Standards and Testing Agency also leaked a copy of the new Prats paper two – the spelling, punctuation and grammar (Spag) test. See how many you can answer correctly.

No more Sats: A spelling, punctuation and grammar test for 2021

Question 1: Circle the word in the sentence below that is both a proper noun and a colon.

My name is Gavin.

Question 2: Rewrite the following sentence in the passive.

“No. Bugger off! I’m not going to wear a mask in the staffroom. This isn’t a bleeding police state, you tosser!”

Question 3: Explain how knowing the meaning of the terms fronted adverbial, subordinating conjunction and present progressive will actually help you in life. 

Question 4: End this sentence in standard English. There are several possible answers.

The secretary of state for education is .......................................

Question 5: Remove two commas and several zeros from the sentence below in order for it to make any sense at all.

The DfE has allocated £10,000,000 to form new behaviour hubs.

Question 6: Label each word below as either a subject or object of ridicule.

a) Track

b) And

c) Trace

Question 7: Put parentheses in the correct place around the words below, to make them feel as safe and secure as possible this term.

The children

Question 8: Identify which of the sentences below is in the past, the present or the future.

a) Nigel, please put yourself on mute for this lesson.

b) I don’t remember what collaborative group work is, Miss.

c) It’s great to see the whole school in the hall for assembly today.

Question 9: Spell the word that you first think of when you read the phrase below, using as many exclamation marks as you see fit.

The Department for Education, 2020-2021

Question 10: Draw a line to match each prefix to the root words below to make four words related to current politics. Use each prefix only once.

prefix       root word

In            Tenable

Un          Bolic

Mis         Competent

Sham     Appropriated

Question 11: Add as many question marks to the sentence below as you feel are necessary. 

The number of children eligible for pupil premium in 2021 will be calculated using the October 2020 census.

Question 12: Draw a line under the words below that are antonyms for the phrase “stunningly thought-through and really clear”.

The 2021 GCSE and A-level examination process

Question 13: Which phrases below are synonyms for the word “Ofsted”? Circle all that apply.

Stressful        Nightmarish        Divisive        Crude        Unnecessary

Question 14: When the secretary of state for education uses direct speech, it annoys everyone in the teaching profession. Explain why this is the case.

Colin Dowland is a primary school headteacher in North London. He tweets as @colindowland

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