Thursday, 29 June 2017

VCOP Not VSOP, And SPaG without Bolognaise

Today I shall be in school. Part of that will involve teaching a Literacy Class to 7 and 8 year olds. Among other things, it will be important that I mention VCOP and SPaG. I feel it incumbent upon me to explain these initials to any readers who are not teachers or parents-of-primary-school-children. 
This is VSOP
VSOP stands for Very Superior Old Pale: VSOP cognacs are created from eaux-de-vie aged for at least four years. The VSOP category includes designations such as "Old" or "Reserve". XO stands for "Extra Old": XO cognacs are made only from eaux-de-vie at least six years old.

This must not be confused with VCOP which is one of those dreadful initialisms created by the powers-that-be in the belief that it raises standards in education.
VCOP stands for Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and PunctuationAs well as focusing on the genre-specific writing features, pupils are encouraged to always focus on four core targets - Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers and Punctuation as a way of improving all of the writing they do.

SPaG means Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar And yes, you will see these pseudo wartime posters displayed in many schools. 
Personally I am with Michael Rosen on this matter - I am not convinced you can teach good writing by applying formulae. Furthermore I suspect that under the current system, if you applied the current criteria for passing SATS, then many of our greatest authors would fail miserably. I doubt that Dickens, Austen, Shakespeare and others would pass. Mind you, we all know that the Bard varied his spellings frequently.
THIS is the poster in the series that winds me up the most! How does a company have the effrontery to sell it for £6? What sort of teacher would buy it? I did cover a class in Leicester where it was on the wall and was so tempted to correct it with a Sharpie.

But today I shall do my very best, and keep to the rules, and hope that my lesson [which is being observed] comes up to scratch.
Coincidentally, this sentence begins with a 'fronted adverbial'.
And perhaps later on, we will have Spag Bol for tea [I doubt it will be followed by a glass of VSOP though]


  1. Really?? We just taught, never mind all the acronyms, and it seemed to work. As for that poster?? Amazing.

  2. Ha, ha!!! Good luck (in retrospect!)x

  3. It seems to get harder and harder to be a teacher these days. Good luck - and I know the children are in good hands! Lyssa Mx


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