Are Janet and John now working at the DfES?

Do you remember those halcyon days when Janet and John happily went out shopping with their mother and cars actually stopped to let you cross at Zebra crossings? When it was always sunny and warm, and no-one had ever heard of equal-opportunities, multi-culturalism, health and safety, terms and conditions, the internet, smart phones or Higgs bosun particles? The days when men were men, and women stayed at home to make scrumptious-looking cakes to serve them when they returned from a hard day’s night? Well, it seems those blissful days are about to return.

Following the recent publication of the sample English Grammar test questions for end of Primary School pupils, All Change Please! is left wondering whether Janet and John are alive and, well, now working for the DfES?

English Test Sample Questions (1.1Mb pdf download)

According to the test questions, Mum is always there to look after Peter Smith’s smart new trousers. Meanwhile it’s Dad who turns up the heating when it gets cold and is in complete control of the television. William plays sport on the field (albeit badly), and winning trophies with the local team is obviously what counts most. The shopping list includes bread, butter, jam and tea. And despite Jamie Oliver’s vigorous campaigning, Sam scoffs biscuits, Paul’s Auntie May is always busy baking cakes, even though apparently the children eat even more cake at the local cafe on a Saturday – especially David who apparently eats cake whenever he has the chance. There’s still a local independent baker who hopes to sell all his loaves by lunchtime, as presumably it’s early-closing day.

With all the inherent cultural, class and gender bias in this test it seems the reality is that nothing at all has been learnt over the past 60 years.

Meanwhile, unlike the DfES, at least Ladybird books seem to have realised that times have moved on a bit.

So, here are some suggested 21st century questions for the test.

1. Which of the following statements is correct?

a)  Open the drawers carefully and quietly when using the filing cabinet.

b)  No-one uses filing cabinets anymore. Ever heard of a database?

2.  What is a clause? Which of the following statements are correct:

a)  A clause is the smallest grammatical unit that can express a complete proposition.

b)  Santa Clause can climb down chimneys.

c)  Santa’s little helpers are called subordinate Clauses.

d)  In an education bill there is no such thing as a Sanity Clause.

3. Capitalisation. Circle the correct answer:

Kimberly finds school a complete waste of time but is learning a lot from her:  a) iPad,  b) Ipad, c) ipad, d) IPAD.

4. Complete the following sentence.

The children were going on-____ to buy some new toys using their parent’s credit card without their knowledge and to view some_________ movies.

5. Change the baker’s words into direct action:

‘Because of the new local supermarket I am about to go out of business’

6. Is it I or is it me? Insert the word ‘I’ or ‘me’ at the start of the following sentences:

a)  __ am so bored doing this test which has no relevance to my life whatsoever

b)  __ am he as you are he as you are __and we are all together

c)  __ am the Walrus

d)  __, __, mine

e)  __ have never heard of The Beatles

f)  __ Robot

g)  __ Tarzan

h)  Can __ go home now?

7. Add the most appropriate punctuation mark to the following:

a)  OMG

b)  WTF

c)  I am very unlikely to pass this test and as a result will feel a complete failure for the rest of my life

8. Use the following letters to spell the name of a popular and highly successful member of the cabinet who clearly deserves to become the next Prime Minister. Part of it has been done for you:

Evil maniac’s huge ego   =   M______ G___ is a genius.*

This post got by with a little help from Tony Wheeler and *@LutonNUT