On Monday 11th October we received a short letter from Principal Lucy Frame at Ark All Saints Academy in response to our open letter sent on 7th October. We were disappointed that the letter was generic and that it failed to respond to any of the points we raised in our detailed letter.
The Academy’s letter stated that in response to the media attention, the term “banned words” has been changed to “Different forms of communication”. It is our understanding that with the new title the Academy will continue to police the use of Black British English (BBE) through an indirect ban. The Academy’s response continues to make reference to BBE as informal language and claim that it undermines students’ ability to be heard or understood. Not only has there been a lack of acknowledgement from the academy to the harm it caused `Black British English speakers, the Academy’s decision to continue the policing of Black British English shows a failure to recognise the real issues and real-life implications caused by their institutionalised linguistic practices.
We believe the ongoing denial of the legitimacy of BBE as its own language will ostracise Black pupils, and in turn have a negative impact on their racial and self-esteem alongside a sense of belonging which will, in turn, impact their educational experience.
If you are a student or teacher at the Academy and are affected by this policy, we would love to hear from you and provide further support and information. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.