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Sheppey mum Alex Garrod angry at ‘bullet through your head’ grammar question for primary pupils

By Andy Gray

A Warden Bay mother says she was shocked to discover her son’s homework contained a question relating to violent robbery.

The test sheet, for spelling, punctuation and grammar, required students to use “I” and “me” correctly in a sentence.

Alex Garrod’s 11-year-old son Harry is an Eastchurch Primary School pupil, and was studying at their home in Seasalter Close, Warden Bay, when he alerted her to the bizarre question.

Warden Bay mum, Alex Garrod with her son, Harry
Warden Bay mum, Alex Garrod with her son, Harry

Ms Garrod said: “He was sitting at the table doing his work when he said, ‘Oh my God, look at this’.

“I was shocked. I thought, ‘Am I reading this correctly?’”

The sentence, which included gaps for the insertion of the correct grammar, read: “Hand...the money before...put a bullet through your head.”

Ms Garrod, 29, said: “Because Harry had to put ‘I’ and ‘me’ in the sentence it was as though he was writing as himself.

“Afterwards, I did explain to Harry that you don’t need to be putting bullets through people’s heads to get money. He was like, ‘I know that Mum’” - Alex Garrod

“It put him off the rest of the paper because all he could talk about was the bullet question.

“There’s thousands of more appropriate sentences they could have used for the test.

“Teachers are really busy, and proofreading homework sheets isn’t something they should be doing as these are pre-prepared test sheets.

“Afterwards, I did explain to Harry that you don’t need to be putting bullets through people’s heads to get money. He was like, ‘I know that Mum’.”

Ms Garrod said the test was preparation for her son’s SATS exams next week.

She said: “I’m not a parent that gets in a flap about it affecting Harry. He’s quite clever, but it’s still an inappropriate question for a child to answer.

"What with the uproar over violent video games, parents don’t need to be worried about their children’s schoolwork as well.”

Ms Garrod said her angst over the sentence was relieved somewhat when the youngster attempted to tackle the next question, which read: “When I asked the Scotsman if he enjoyed haggis, he looked at me and said ‘Och...’”

Ms Garrod said: “I’m not sure if we should even know the answer to that.”

The test paper containing the sentence for students to punctuate correctly
The test paper containing the sentence for students to punctuate correctly

The school has since apologised that the paper was not checked by staff before being given to pupils.

Headteacher Sarah Hunt said: "We are sorry this has happened. The homework exercise was taken from a Times Educational Supplement site providing teaching resources, which is normally a very reliable facility used by thousands of teachers across the country every day.

"Unfortunately this particular piece of work was not checked thoroughly before being sent home with the children, and we are sorry that this has caused concern with the family.

"Our school encourages parents with any concerns about their child's education to come into school for a chat with their teacher or, if they prefer, myself and we are disappointed that the parents did not do so in this case."


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