Special measures school improves after banning slang words including ‘coz’ and ‘innit’

The Mirror is reporting that a girls school which has banned students using all slang has turned its fortunes around.

The once-struggling Harris Academy Upper Norwood has revitalised its reputation and been given top marks by Ofsted after banning all informal language deemed to be undesirable.

The school took a strict view on slang and as well as banning “coz” and “woz”, also barred pupils starting sentences with “basically” and ending them with “yeah”.

Now the all-girls school, in Croydon, south London, has received the highest Ofsted rating of Outstanding two years after taking the old-fashioned approach to language.

The 346-pupil academy, which teaches students aged 11-16, replaced the Westwood Girls’ College for Language which was placed in special measures in 2013.

Chiefs received criticism in their ban of “informal language” such as “bare” and “extra” in a perceived attempt to make their students more employable after leaving.

Students heard using slang including “ain’t” – a word that originated in the 18th century – were asked to “reflect” on its use.

Now the academy – which replaced the school which posted the worst GCSE results in Croydon in 2012 – is celebrating after being awarded the “outstanding” rating on July 16…

More at: Special measures school improves after banning slang words including ‘coz’ and ‘innit’


Of course, we don’t know if the slang ban had any direct impact on the Ofsted rating, and there was a fair amount of scepticism when ban story was first reported, but would you endorse the idea of doing this?

Are you at a school that consciously attempts to do the same? If so, let us know what impact you think it has and whether you would recommend others to do the same.


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link

Unions hit back at Nicky Morgan's 'delusional' workload suggestions
Council warns it faces £67m funding shortfall to create school places city needs
Categories: Academies and Secondary.


  1. Sarah HewittClarkson

    We have done the same at my primary school. We’ve banned innit, be’s, as in it be’s hot today. We’ve also banned ‘hate’. We are educators.. Who else would we expect to take a grammatical stance?

  2. Congratulations to the school but correlation isn’t causation.  It’s clear from the Ofsted report that other factors were in play: eg improved teaching, good questioning techniques, professional development.  Oh, and significant investment in refurbishment including new science facilities.

Let us know what you think...