Outrage after Barnsley schoolchildren get ‘lessons in swearing’

Yorkshire's exam performance falls below the rest of the country
Yorkshire's exam performance falls below the rest of the country
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PARENTS say they are “disgusted” over children as young as 11 being given lessons in swearing at a Yorkshire secondary school.

The pupils were being asked to decide on the appropriate use of swear words - including the C-word - as part of their school lessons.

Year Seven children at the new Shafton Advanced Learning Centre in Barnsley were given a worksheet on Wednesday entitled “Acceptable or Not.”

It listed situations where swear words were used, including “telling your friend to f*** off in classroom, in a shopping centre or in assembly.”

The worksheet also asked pupils about the appropriateness of saying “s***”, calling someone a “d*******” during a lesson or making complaints such as “it’s p***ing it down.”

The words were not censored on the worksheet and pupils were asked if it was “always okay, sometimes okay, depends, or never okay” to utter such language.

Lawrence Sparks, 52, the father of Lauren Sparks, 12, said he was disgusted when his daughter brought the worksheet home from school.

He said: “It is teaching kids bad language to me. When they have sex education lessons they ask the parents whether they want their children involved and this should be the same.

“I spoke to the receptionist at the school to complain. She said there had been a number of angry calls from parents. It is disgusting.

“After I registered a complaint the headteacher rang me back a few minutes later and she didn’t see what the problem was.

“She thought it was acceptable and I didn’t. Nothing like that would have happened when I was a kid.

“Learning all those swear words is just giving the kids an excuse to swear.”

Lauren’s stepmother Karen Young, 43, said: “I don’t swear in front of children and don’t think they should be subjected to this.”

The worksheet was distributed in a personal, social and health education lesson on Wednesday, July 11.

Miss Young said: “Lauren said the kids were going mad in the class, shouting out the swear words.

“It came across from her that nothing was being done in a controlled and responsible manner, which I found frightening. It is giving children a licence to swear.”

She has complained to the school because she says parents should have a say in what is taught to their children.

She said: “Swearing is commonplace in this day and age, but I personally would rather sit down and explain things like this on a one-to-one basis.”

Peter Foot, chairman of the Campaign for Courtesy said: “It is an extraordinary thing for a school to do.

“It is appalling and, whether it was an individual or a group of teachers who issued the worksheets, then you worry about the wisdom.

“Someone should have said ‘hang on a minute’ - do you think it is wise to print these words and circulate them?”

The headteacher of Shafton Advanced Learning Centre was unavailable for comment yesterday and was said to be in a meeting.

But in a statement, the school said that 700 students had taken part in the class and denied there had been complaints from either teachers or pupils.

A school spokesman said work on language and respect had been delivered to all year seven to nine students and it helps students recognise what is and is not acceptable.

“As part of our social responsibility we are educating our students to understand what kind of language is appropriate at what times and in what context,” said the spokesman.