An academy in south London has banned popular slang words used by pupils in an effort to improve standards of English.
No longer will words and phrases such as ‘you woz’, ‘bare’ and ‘innit’ be tolerated in the corridors of Harris Academy in Upper Norwood, one of 27 Academies and Free Schools in and around London sponsored by the Harris Federation.
The school has put up signs with a list of ‘banned words’ including ‘extra’, ‘innit’ and ‘like’, as well as beginning sentences with ‘basically’ or ending them with ‘yeah’.
Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy defended the move, only lamenting that ‘sup blood’ was not included.
He said: ‘I think this is a very good idea. Speaking slang is fine in a social setting but a school should be a professional, educational environment and if part of that means banning slang then that’s fine by me.
‘Too often I see young people going into job interviews or writing cover letters without being able to use correct English. Any attempts to change that should be encouraged.
‘Not many employers would tolerate their staff using words like ‘innit’ when speaking to customers or clients, so the school is right to try to discourage the use of this language in classrooms.
‘Given the huge levels of youth unemployment we are experiencing under the current government, it is more important than ever that schools do what they can to prepare students for working life, and teaching good communication skills is a vital part of that.
‘I think it is fairly obvious to most people that anyone who goes into a job interview with a good grasp of the English language will have an automatic advantage over someone that doesn’t.
‘The issue here isn’t about slang itself, but about the context it is used in. Language is an important part of any culture, and young people will always have their own slang.
‘But young people need versatility; using slang is fine in some situations, but the ability to also speak good English is absolutely crucial in any workplace, and it is something that every school should be teaching its students.’
‘Those saying this is an attack on culture are completely missing that point: no one is saying slang is bad, but simply that it shouldn’t be the only way that one is capable of communicating.’
But the move was criticised by some online observers. Science blogger and academic Alice Bell tweeted: ‘Saddo limited approach to language, innit’, while Becky Middleton said: ‘Wow. Good luck enforcing that.’
But children’s book illustrator Siân Schiaparelli tweeted: ‘Sensible to teach kids to speak appropriately in formal contexts. Handy for job interviews, innit.
‘Everyone is acting as if it’s like when Victorian kids were caned for speaking Welsh. Language could secure them a better future.’
Joannepsi added: ‘Fantastic – I have conducted job interviews with applicants who pepper their speech with these words. They didn’t get the job.’
Harris Academy was not available for comment tonight.see more
source: dailymail UK