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Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (SPaG)

The new English grammar, punctuation and spelling test (also known as the SPaG test) (or GaPS) was introduced in May 2013 as part of the KS2 SATs programme for Year 6 pupils, replacing the previous English writing test. The government is aiming for all children to leave primary school with a sound grasp of essential English skills. The SPAG test includes questions that assess the following elements of the English curriculum:


  • Sentence grammar through both identifying and writing sentences that are grammatically correct,
  • Punctuation through identifying and writing sentences that are correctly punctuated,
  • Spelling through identifying and writing correctly spelt words.
  • SPaG will be taught across the whole school and year will develop pupil’s knowledge and build on previous years learning.


What skills and knowledge do children need to succeed? For your child to do well within the grammar, punctuation and spelling teaching, they do not just have to be good at writing; they also need a technical understanding of how the English language works. As well as being able to spell words correctly, use a wide range of vocabulary and punctuate well, they need to grasp the meaning of grammatical terms such as noun, verb, adjective, prefix, pronoun and adverb, know what phrases and clauses are and how to use them, understand what connectives are and how they work, know how to turn a question into a command, and so on. This terminology can be a stumbling block even for children who are otherwise good at reading and writing, and make the questions hard to understand. The curriculum has been carefully mapped out in order for the children to progress through the year groups and build on their knowledge on this area.