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3 May 2016

Listen: Schools Minister Nick Gibb gets SATs question for 11-year-olds wrong

Exams put too much pressure on children. And on the politicians who insist they don't put too much pressure on children.

By Media Mole

As we know from today’s news of a primary school exams boycott, or “kids’ strike”, it’s tough being a schoolchild in Britain today. But apparently it’s also tough being a Schools Minister.

Nick Gibb, Minister of State at the Department for Education, failed a SATs grammar question for 11-year-olds on the BBC’s World at One today. Having spent all morning defending the primary school exams system – criticised by tens of thousands of parents for putting too much pressure on young children – he fell victim to the very test that has come under fire.

Listen here:

Martha Kearney: Let me give you this sentence, “I went to the cinema after I’d eaten my dinner”. Is the word “after” there being used as a subordinating conjunction or as a preposition?

Nick Gibb: Well, it’s a proposition. “After” – it’s…

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MK [Laughing]: I don’t think it is…

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NG: “After” is a preposition, it can be used in some contexts as a, as a, word that coordinates a subclause, but this isn’t about me, Martha…

MK: No, I think in this sentence it’s being used a subordinating conjunction!

NG: Fine. This isn’t about me. This is about ensuring that future generations of children, unlike me, incidentally, who was not taught grammar at primary school…

MK: Perhaps not!

NG: …we need to make sure that future generations are taught grammar properly.