According to news reports today, the government’s new national curriculum, which looks like it will have plenty of problems all of its own, WILL include the teaching of English grammar, punctuation, and phonics-based spelling to primary school children.
Pricsian, AElfric and Dante!1 Can you imagine that? In twenty years’ time, university lecturers might not have to be teaching their top English students what a verb is. Or the difference between a comma and a semi-colon (a difference which, I will concede, I didn’t figure out until second year myself).
However, let’s consider this: the last time grammar was systematically taught in Australia was in the 1970s. We have thirty years worth of the population who weren’t taught to parse a sentence. Most people didn’t get to learn that at uni, either, including (since it was struck of the curriculum) most of the teachers out who are now out there working, and supposed to be imparting the joys of sentence parsing to the youth of tomorrow. I hope the government offers some serious teacher-training courses in grammar, or this will be a giant farce.
1. I am now swearing by these three on all matters grammatical.