‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ are SAFE! Government says replacing traditional terms with gender-neutral alternatives should ‘NOT be happening’ in schools – after ‘woke’ call for inclusive language
- The Government said replacing ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ will ‘not be happening’ in schools
- A charity recommended pupils should not refer to teachers as ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’
- It recommended using gender-neutral terms such as ‘teacher’ to refer to staff
- One attendee branded it ‘propaganda’ and criticised her union for funding it
- Social media users also reacted with fury to the proposed language-grab
The Government has come to the rescue of the English language as it confirmed it banning traditional terms such as ‘Sir’ and ‘Miss’ in UK classrooms was out of order.
There was widespread outrage after an LGBT charity boss said teachers should get rid of gendered language during a webinar branded ‘propaganda for trans activists’.
Dr Elly Barnes, head of the Educate and Celebrate charity, told an NEU webinar teachers could be addressed as ‘Teacher’ followed by their surname rather than ‘Mr’, ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’.
However, a Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said that would be ‘inappropriate and completely unnecessary’.
They added: ‘It should not be happening in our classrooms.’
Dr Elly Barnes (pictured), head of the Educate and Celebrate charity, told an NEU webinar teachers could be addressed as ‘Teacher’ followed by their surname rather than ‘Mr’, ‘Miss’ or ‘Mrs’. Yet a Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said that would be ‘inappropriate and completely unnecessary’
Although biological sex can’t be altered, some people change genders from the ones there were assigned with at birth.
This sometimes means they ask to be called by pronouns for a gender that is not usually associated with their sex.
Dr Barnes advised teachers to use gender-neutral language, replacing words such as ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ with ‘pupil’ or ‘student’, a report in The Telegraph added.
One of the attendees raised concerns that this could also mean the banning of terms such as ‘sir’ or ‘miss’, which pupils often use to get the attention of their teacher.
In the webinar, Getting the language right for 2022, Dr Barnes insisted that the gender-free model was a success in many of the schools her charity worked with.
In clips of the training, Dr Barnes was seen suggesting that ‘male’ and ‘female’ categories be removed from school application forms and that school uniforms could be gender-free.
Social media users have reacted with fury over the charity’s recommendations, stating that the ‘world has gone mad’. Another mocked the charity for its alleged inclusiveness
Dr Elly Barnes hosted the training session for teachers funded by the National Education Union
One attendee questioned whether the phraseology would affect terms such as ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’, which pupils often to use to get the attention of their teachers.
A female teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, branded the session as ‘propaganda for trans activists’ and told The Telegraph she thought it was against the Department for Education (DfE) guidelines.
She said: ‘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.
‘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.’
The NEU was criticised for using its members’ fees to fund the session by The Safe Schools Alliance, a group campaigning against gender ideology being taught as fact and not belief.
The charity’s guidance has been met with anger, with social media users claiming ‘the world is going mad’.
One tweeted: ‘Dropping genders in school? Whatever next. Go see the headmaster. No go see the head him/they/them.’
Sheilagh O’Gorman added: ‘No union should be spending members money on financing such wokery.
‘Gents’ and ‘ladies’ toilets WILL be compulsory in all public buildings under new planning laws in blow for campaigners for gender-neutral facilities
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will force public buildings to have separate male and female toilets under plans to target activists for ‘gender-neutral’ loos
Public buildings will be forced to have separate male and female toilets under plans to target activists for ‘gender-neutral’ loos.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick is to rewrite planning regulations to enshrine separate stalls in new buildings and demand partitions be installed in current unisex facilities.
The Telegraph reported that the move was in response to claims that women were finding it hard to find single-sex facilities.
Under the changes, buildings will have to separate male and female facilities, and make sure women’s cubicles are entirely self contained, with basins and hand dryers, for privacy.
A source close to Mr Jenrick told the paper: ‘It’s a necessity for women to have access to their own provision of toilets, but too often separate sex toilets are being removed by stealth – causing great distress.
‘We’ve listened to the concerns raised by women and the elderly about their security, dignity and safety and are going to maintain and improve safe guards by updating regulations in order to ensure that there is always the necessary provision of separate toilets for everyone in the community.
‘These changes will help to maintain safeguards that protect women and the proper provision of separate toilets, which has long been a regulatory requirement, will be retained and improved.’
‘If I were a member I would protest. And stop paying my subscription.’
Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union, also said today: ‘Teaching unions should confine themselves to fighting for better pay and conditions and stop promoting woke gobbledegook.
‘Asking their members to tell children not to call them ‘Sir’ or ‘Miss’ is inappropriate and will make teachers’ lives harder, not easier.’
A tweet from the campaign group added: ‘We can’t get through a single week without somebody trying to police what language we can use’.
The new recommendations were also discussed in a segment on ITV’s This Morning today.
LBC’s Tom Swarbrick said the current ‘Miss’ and ‘Sir’ terms used in school should remain in place ‘unless there’s a good reason’.
He added: ‘I’m going to be a bit old school about this, I quite like it. I think it’s what has happened to date always and forever.
‘Unless there’s a good reason the teacher doesn’t want to be known as Sir or Miss, but a blanket policy that says, no we’re going to have gender neutral teachers. I just think, what age are we going to institute this?
‘Is this going to happen to my four-year-old in her first year of school? It feels like it needs some explaining. Maybe at four or six years old, it’s not the age to start to try to explain the difference between biological sex and gender.’
The show’s presenter Dermot O’Leary added: ‘The pressure is going to be on the kids to try to get their heads round this at an age when they should just be being children and not worry about it.’
And Vanessa Feltz said: ‘I went to an old fashioned, bit posh, kind of school where you had to call the teacher by their name. It’s the more polite thing to do – call the teacher by their name, Mr Smith, Miss Jones, it’s the courteous thing to do. Just call them by their name, end of.
Reverend Dr Bernard Randall, an ex-Cambridge college chaplain, recalled being deeply troubled by what he felt was ‘revolutionary Marxist’ flavour of the language during session run by Dr Barnes at Trent College in 2019.
He said teachers were were asked to chant ‘smash heteronormativity’, adding: ‘The chanting was frankly bizarre and I felt uncomfortable. It was all very cleverly put together though – her rhetorical skills were impressive.
‘She started off slowly with general things about anti bullying and diversity, which no one could object to. But then the focus moved to gender identity and an introduction to the language of trans.
‘And there seemed to be an emphasis on instruction rather than suggestion.’
He also found it embarrassing that Dr Barnes was giving teachers stickers bearing her group’s rainbow logo when they answered questions correctly.
Vanessa Feltz (left) and LBC’s Tom Swarbrick discussed the charity’s guidance on ITV’s This Morning today
This Morning presenter Dermot O’Leary said the kids ‘should just be being children and not have worry about it’
The training session recommended that school pupils should refer to their tutors as ‘teacher’ instead of gendered titles such as ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’
A teacher at the webinar said the suggestions made around language were examples to illustrate how schools could start a conversation about gender-neutral language, rather than policy directives.
He said: ‘There are people who neither identify as male or female working in positions where the traditional Mr/Sir or Ms/Mrs/Miss no longer fit’.
He added the comments about pupils using an alternative to ‘sir’ or ‘miss’ were ‘a question [that] came in from someone who was watching the webinar’.
He said he understood the response to the question as a suggestion for schools to think about alternative ways of addressing trans and non-binary pupils and members of staff.
‘Historically, look at ‘sir’ and ‘miss’ in education,’ he said.
‘A married female teacher would be forced to leave being a teacher to become a family maker. So the use of the word ‘miss’ is really quite outdated.
‘I tell the kids that I have not been knighted and don’t deserve the title ‘sir’ yet.
‘I identify as he/him and obviously Mr is my prefix, but for someone who is they/them they have the right to decide how they are addressed.’
The teacher said Dr Barnes had included a school overseas as an example of how schools might use more inclusive language where the prefix ‘Teacher’ was used instead of Mr, Mrs or Miss.
The DfE is due to publish guidance on political impartiality for schools this week, which is expected to include advice on teaching about gender identity. Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi (pictured) said: ‘The new guidance I will issue clarifies the requirement for teachers to make a balanced presentation of opposing views on political issues
‘I have students who are ‘they/them’ and they should feel comfortable with the schools they attend,’ he said.
‘The webinar was about beginning a discussion about it, not a policy change for the whole education system.’
An NEU spokesperson said: ‘An increasing number of teenagers are identifying as non-binary, and education needs to respond to this – but the NEU does not believe that schools can or should adopt gender-neutral language across the board.
‘This training came from an external provider and was organised locally. The NEU will review its contents to ensure it is consistent with our policies.’
Educate and Celebrate’s website states teachers and pupils respond well to its training, with 94 per cent of secondary students saying they ‘felt more confident in expressing their views and be themselves’ in a survey.
The Educate and Celebrate charity has received funding from the DfE in the past and charges as much as £400 for a webinar with unions, as well as its award programme which costs £1,800.
Its website states: ‘We provide LGBT+ inclusion training to ensure that you meet all of your Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) objectives for staff, support staff, leadership teams, governors, trainee teachers, student workshops, youth networks, CPD days and an Award Programme.’
The charity lists Durham County Council as a partner and has positive testimonials from a number of headteachers.
The DfE is due to publish guidance on political impartiality for schools this week, which is expected to include advice on teaching about gender identity.
On Sunday, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: ‘The new guidance I will issue clarifies the requirement for teachers to make a balanced presentation of opposing views on political issues, so that the complexity of many of these important questions is understood.
‘It is not for teachers to tell people what they should think on political issues or how they should vote.’
Educate and Celebrate and the NEU have both been approached for comment.
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