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Slang banned from Croydon school to improve student speech

Poster showing the banned words at Harris Academy
Image caption If students are overheard using the words they will be asked to reflect on them

Slang such as "ain't", "innit" and "coz" has been banned from a school in south London to try to help students find future employment.

Harris Academy Upper Norwood said it implemented the initiative to allow its students to "express themselves confidently and appropriately".

Pupils heard using "informal language" will be asked to "reflect" on it.

Other banned words include "like", "bare" and "extra" and the phrases "you woz" and "we woz".

Starting sentences with "basically" and ending them with "yeah" is also considered to be too informal at the Croydon school.

'It's wrong'

In a statement, the school said: "In addition to giving students the teaching they need to thrive academically, we want them to develop the soft skills they will need to compete for jobs and university places.

"This particular initiative is just one of the many ways in which we are building the vocabulary of our students and giving them the skills they need to express themselves confidently and appropriately for a variety of audiences."

Terry Victor, editor of the New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English said: "It's wrong.

"You cannot censor a young person's language, they're not talking about words that are offensive, they're talking about some of the words that politicians use.

"[The word] 'ain't' was around in the 19th Century, people like Dickens used it... and how many politicians have you heard say "basically" to begin a sentence?

"Yes, it's irritating but it's part of deliberate language."

Harris Academy Upper Norwood opened last month, replacing a secondary school that was in special measures.

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