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Charity Urges Children To Stop Saying Sir And Miss In School And Use 'Gender-Neutral' Alternatives

Jess Hardiman

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Charity Urges Children To Stop Saying Sir And Miss In School And Use 'Gender-Neutral' Alternatives

A charity has urged pupils and staff at schools to use gender-neutral language to avoid discrimination, which could involve referring to an educator as ‘Teacher’ rather than using words like ‘Mr’, ‘Sir’, ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’. 

Dr Elly Barnes, the Chief Executive of the Educate and Celebrate charity, told teachers during a union-funded training session that they should stop using terms such as ‘boys’, ’girls’, ‘son’ and ‘mother’, and instead replace them with gender-neutral alternatives including ‘pupils’, ‘students’ and ‘child’ .

On the list of alternative words and terms that teachers were shown, other examples included ‘head pupil’ instead of ‘head boy’ and ‘parent’ rather than ‘mother’. 

According to the Telegraph, during the 90-minute lecture – which was organised by the National Education Union (NEU) - Barnes outlined how schools should be moving towards a ‘gender-free model’, arguing that it was ‘working very well in a lot of schools we are working with’. 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The outlet reports that Barnes showed attendees a ‘code of conduct’ that she encouraged schools to display at reception, saying people should not be allowed on the premises if they did not agree. The poster listed bullet points of all the characteristics protected under the Equalities Act, apart from sex. 

Barnes suggested that the options of ‘male’ and ‘female’ should be removed from school application forms, with a box for gender simply ‘left open’ instead. 

The ‘Getting the Language Right for 2022’ webinar also featured advice on language that could be directed at teachers and staff, with Barnes suggesting they could be referred to as ‘Teacher’ or ‘Headteacher’ followed by their surname. 

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

One attendee reportedly argued that teachers ‘do not take offence’ from words such as ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’, saying they are only used to ‘get your attention’. 

And one teacher, who asked to remain anonymous, also told the Telegraph after the session: “It was propaganda for trans activists and completely against the DfE guidelines, but they were presenting it as fact.

"Teachers will take what this woman says as fact because the training was organised by the NEU and they’re not going to question their union.” 

The female teacher said she was especially upset at the way Educate and Celebrate ‘disrespected’ women and girls in their advice. 

She added: “They’re trying to erase us by taking away our language, saying we should avoid words like mother, and we’re paying for it essentially.” 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: UK News

Jess Hardiman
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