Staincliffe CE Junior School

Staincliffe CE Junior School

Respect, Trust, Courage and Joy


Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar


As part of the SATs programme for Year 6 pupils, children are now required to complete an English grammar, punctuation and spelling test (also known as the SPaG test). The government is aiming for all children to leave primary school with a sound grasp of essential English skills. Children are required to have a good technical understanding of how the English language works.


Take a look at the images below; can you spot the errors?








The SPAG test will include questions that assess the following elements of the Literacy curriculum:

  • Sentence grammar through both identifying and writing sentences that are grammatically correct,
  • Punctuation through identifying and writing sentences that are correctly punctuated,
  • Vocabulary through identifying and writing sentences in which a word is used correctly,
  • Spelling through identifying and writing correctly spelt words.

At Staincliffe, SPaG will be taught across the whole school and each year will develop children’s knowledge and build on previous learning.



What skills and knowledge do children need to succeed?


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 (see the Glossary below to help you become familiar with this technical vocabulary). This terminology can be tricky even for children who are otherwise good at reading and writing. Therefore, it's really important that children practise these skills!

Explore the websites below to develop your SPAG skills in a fun and engaging way!



A guide to the technical grammatical terms used by your teacher and in the SPAG tests:


 Term  Definition                      Examples                                                                         
 Adjective                            Adjectives are 'describing words', giving extra information about the noun.                     The children did fantastic work.                     
 Adverb Adverbs are used to modify verbs. They tell us when, where, how, in what manner, or to what extent an action is performed. They usually end in -ly.

Safiyah sang loudly.

Happily, he won the trophy.

 Antonym Two words are antonyms if their meanings are opposite.




Apostrophes are used to:

  • show the place of missing letters
  • making possession/belonging


I'm, can't

[show the place of missing letters].


Bilal's mum dropped him off at school

[making possession/belonging].


An article is used with a noun to give more information about the noun. The three articles are - a, an and the.

He didn't have a seat so he sat on the chair in front of



Clauses are groups of words which contain a verb and are part of a sentence. The two kinds of clauses are:

Main - these make sense on their own.

Subordinate - these don't make sense on their own and depend on the main clause for their meaning.


 The children clapped when Isa scored a goal.


Conjunction A conjunction links two words or phrases together.

Umar liked football and cricket.

Fabeer couldn't play football because he hurt his leg.



When a word or phrase that normally comes after the verb is moved before the verb, we call it a fronted adverbial.

 The day after tomorrow, it is Sports Day.

[Without fronting: It is Sports Day the day after tomorrow].

Homonym Two different words are homonyms if they both look exactly the same when written and sounds exactly the same when pronounced.

It is very light outside.

The box is very light.

Homophone Two different words are homophones if they sound exactly the same when pronounced. They are spelt differently.

some, sum

here, hear


Nouns name people, places and things.

Common nouns name everyday things.

Proper nouns name particular places and people. They always start with a capital letter.

Collective nouns are groups of things.




Common nouns - cat, bedroom.


Proper nouns -

Staincliffe Junior School have an Open Day in March.



Collective nouns -

army, herd, pride


Plurals mean 'more than one' and usually end in 's' or 'es'.

There are exceptions e.g. mouse, mice.

 The girls won first prize.


Prepositions often describe locations or directions. They show the relationship of one thing to another.

 She'll be back from Pakistan in two weeks.


Sometimes, instead of repeating the same noun (e.g. Mrs Powell teaches at Staincliffe. Mrs Powell is in Year 6), we use a pronoun in its place (e.g. She is also the Literacy Coordinator).

Sufyan walked to school. He walked with his friend.


Two words are synonyms if they have the same meaning.

talk, speak

old, elderly


 Verbs are often called 'doing words' - many verbs name an action that someone does.


An auxiliary verb goes with a verb and are often called "helping verbs" because they introduce or "help" the main verb.



She walked to school.



Auxiliary verbs for 'to be' - am, are, is, was, were.

Auxiliary verbs for 'to have' - have, had, hasn't, has,

                                             will have.