School Bans Students From Using Slang Such As 'Like' And 'Bare'

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School Bans Students From Using Slang Such As 'Like' And 'Bare'

A secondary school has banned pupils from using slang words such as 'like' and 'bare' at the start of sentences.

Staff at Ark All Saints Academy in London have drawn up a list of terms that students are no longer allowed to use in formal learning situations and exams.

Students will, however, be allowed to continue using them on the playground.

The extensive list includes words and phrases like 'that's long', 'you know', and 'oh my days', which the school says have been "showing up a lot in pupils' work".


'Wow', 'cuss' and the phrase 'he cut his eyes at me', which reportedly originates in the Caribbean and means to look rudely at a person before turning away quickly while closing one's eyes, have also been banned.

Speaking to The Guardian, Lucy Frame, the principal of the Camberwell school, said the aim was to "help students understand the importance of expressing themselves clearly and accurately, not least through written language in examinations".

Credit: Google Street View
Credit: Google Street View

She explained: "The development of reading and speaking skills is a central part of what drives our school to help our students learn effectively and fulfil their potential in academic and non-academic ways.


"None of the words or phrases listed are banned from general use in our school or when our students are interacting socially."

Since the ban was announced, critics have come out to share their concern that it could have a detrimental impact on the students' education.

Dr Marcello Giovanelli, a senior lecturer in English language and literature at Aston University, said: "Slang has always been at the forefront of linguistic innovation."

Referring to the phrase 'he cut his eyes at me', Dr Giovanelli said it was "wonderfully creative" and that "dismissing students' home or own use of language may have negative effects on identity and confidence".

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

Tony Thorne, a language consultant at King's College London and the director of the Slang and New Language Archive, said: "It shouldn't be about good or bad language, it should be about appropriate language for the context."

Dr Natalie Sharpling, from Warwick University, said it was more important to 'celebrate' different ways of speaking rather than prohibiting certain words.

She said: "You don't want to make them feel they have to reject the cultural aspects of their own language.


"We should celebrate the different ways language is being used and concentrate on the content of what is being said."

Banned list

Words that cannot be used to start sentences:

  • Ermmm
  • Because
  • No
  • Like
  • Say
  • You see
  • You know
  • Basically

Expressions that should not be used in work:

  • He cut his eyes at me
  • That's a neck (you'll get a slap for that)
  • That's long (boring)
  • Oh my days
  • Oh my God
  • Bare (very, extremely)
  • Cuss (swear)
  • Wow

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: US News

Dominic Smithers
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