Black Country slanguage ‘ban’ sees school results on up

The Wolverhampton Express & Star is reporting that a school where children were discouraged from using regional slang and dialect inappropriately has seen a marked improvement in results…

Headteacher John White sparked debate last year when he issued a ‘Mind Your Slanguage’ guide for parents at Colley Lane Primary School in Halesowen in a bid to raise standards of English…

This week, 11 months on from the school move, Mr White revealed that reading levels at Key Stage 2 had improved by seven per cent, with 79 per cent of children achieving the expected level 4 grade. And the number of children achieving the higher level five grade in reading went up nine per cent to 41 per cent.

Phonics checks for Year 1 children also ended up with good results for the school in reading, with 85 per cent of pupils achieving the expected level 2 at Key Stage 1.

In the foundation years, the level of pupils achieving the expected levels in each of seven subjects was higher than the borough average.

Mr White said: “Firstly can I say there was no ban – that term was only used by the media to sensationalise the whole issue.

“Secondly we were always very clear about valuing the local dialect and only wanted to improve our children’s life chances.

“We were very clear this was about a time and a place for the correct formal or informal language. Our intention was not to remove any local culture or identity but to give our children the spoken language skills to compete against the best.”

He added: “Our results have shown a marked improvement in the foundation stage with our children performing above the Dudley average in almost every area. Our phonics screening results have also improved by 14 per cent. In Key Stage 2 our reading has improved by seven per cent at Level 4 and nine per cent at level 5.

“It would be great to see a more positive view on what we are trying to achieve here.”

The guide issued for parents set out what children should or should not say in class.

It includes ideas for parents to help their children, including playing family games, reading books aloud together and avoiding ‘text talk’.

And it features a list of the top 10 most ‘damaging phrases’ used by children in the class…

More at: Black Country slanguage ‘ban’ sees school results on up


Interesting outcomes (although, of course, there may be other contributing factors). Do you think this was a good move by Mr White and would you like to see more schools undertake similar initiatives to raise standards of English? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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