School bans slang such as 'long' and 'bare' to raise literacy levels 

Oh my days… School bans slang terms such as ‘like’ and ‘bare’ in the classroom to raise literacy standards

  • Terms such as ‘like’ and ‘oh my days’ are banned at Ark All Saints in south London
  • Other terms include ‘long’, meaning boring or tiresome and ‘bare’, meaning very
  • Principal Lucy Frame said banned list only applies in ‘formal learning settings’
  • Slang terms including ‘like’ and ‘oh my days’ have been banned by a school to raise literacy standards.

    Ark All Saints academy in south London has drawn up a list of phrases that pupils must avoid in class and in written work.

    One is ‘he cut his eyes at me’, which the Collins dictionary says is Caribbean and means to turn away sharply while closing one’s eyes. 

    Other words include ‘long’, meaning boring, or ‘bare’, meaning very.

    ‘Fillers’ – punctuating conversation with ‘like’ and ‘you see’ – is also forbidden.

    Lucy Frame, the principal at the school in Camberwell, told the Guardian: ‘None of the words or phrases listed is banned from general use in our school or when our students are interacting socially.

    Terms such as 'like' and 'oh my days' are banned at Ark All Saints in south London (file photo)

     Terms such as ‘like’ and ‘oh my days’ are banned at Ark All Saints in south London (file photo)

    ‘But this list is used in some formal learning settings to help students understand the importance of expressing themselves clearly and accurately, not least through written language in examinations.’

    A 2019 survey found slang was the most common reason for English GCSE failures.

    However, Dr Marcello Giovanelli, senior lecturer in English at Aston University, warned: ‘Dismissing students’ home or own use of language may have negative effects on identity and confidence.’

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