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How does your secondary school refer to the people that attend it?

(46 Posts)
golfbuggy Mon 07-Nov-16 12:20:58

Sorry a clunky title!
DD is in Y6 so we've done the round of secondary open days. DS (who is in Y8) came with us and brought up that one particular school had referred to the pupils as "children" which he thought made them sound babyish. He tells me that in his school teachers commonly refer to them as "young adults". In correspondence home and when I've been talking to school staff they always meticulously use the word "students" to the point that I image it must be a school policy.

I do think DS has a valid point though - using "students" and "young adults" does convey a different meaning to calling the school-goers "children" even if that is factually correct.

Just was just wondering if other's had noticed that their child's secondary school used particular terminology? Is this a "thing"?

Saucery Mon 07-Nov-16 12:27:41

'Boys' and 'pupils' interchangeably

Yoarchie Mon 07-Nov-16 12:27:57


Astro55 Mon 07-Nov-16 12:31:45

Students - but kids children in the back office -

Eolian Mon 07-Nov-16 12:32:17

I've been a teacher for 20 years. Calling them students is the norm in state secondary schools and has been for years. Some private schools still call them pupils.

haggisaggis Mon 07-Nov-16 12:33:41

"young people"

Thatwaslulu Mon 07-Nov-16 12:39:27

Students. Unless it's a snotty attendance letter and then it's children.

I was really irritated by the last one that made reference to referring me to the educational investigation service for less than 90% attendance for my child. In context, my son is in sixth form (not compulsory school age) and didn't enrol until the second week of term because he hadn't been offered the subjects he wanted, hence the attendance. Rant over.

nonicknameseemsavailable Mon 07-Nov-16 12:40:26

I have never come across a primary school calling them young adults because they aren't, they are only 11 at most.

pupils as far as I know in our local secondaries.

OnlyHereForTheCamping Mon 07-Nov-16 12:41:51

Learners- I hate it

AndNowItsSeven Mon 07-Nov-16 12:42:31


Genevieva Mon 07-Nov-16 12:52:07

Teenagers are not always as grown up as they think they are. They need clear boundaries as well as acknowledgement that they have independent thinking skills, but I would say the same about my 6 year old too. I think it is fine to call a group of 11-12 year olds 'Children' or 'boys and girls' if you are trying to get their attention. I would probably say 'Everyone' to a group of 16-17 year olds. As long as teachers don't say 'Guys' I don't really mind.

In school literature I would expect 'pupils' or 'students'.

prettybird Mon 07-Nov-16 13:06:22

Pupils or young people.

TeenAndTween Mon 07-Nov-16 13:15:24

Pupils or students or young people.
School only goes up to 16.

Young adults or students at 6th form college.

Eolian Mon 07-Nov-16 13:27:34

Teenagers are not always as grown up as they think they are.
Certainly true, but calling teenagers children (to their faces) will achieve nothing but to piss them off and make them have less respect for you (and make ypu sound like Umbridge in Harry Potter grin). What you call them in letters home etc isn't such a big deal as they are addressed to the parents, who aren't usually as sensitive about these things!

capercaillie Mon 07-Nov-16 13:29:58


catslife Mon 07-Nov-16 13:32:33

In letters home, it appears to be "students". Am not sure if this is just for Y11 (and sixth form) or for the whole school though!
In lessons, the class is usually addressed by year group e.g. Y7 etc and then first names for individuals.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Mon 07-Nov-16 13:33:49

Pupils, children, students, young people. I don't think there's a policy.

NicknameUsed Mon 07-Nov-16 13:48:09

Students. All the secondary schools in our LA refer to the pupils at students.

Genevieva Mon 07-Nov-16 13:52:51

Eolian - hence the rest of my post. Please don't take what I said out of context. I teach 16-18 year olds and have done for almost 15 years. They have left 'school' and now attend sixth form college. Of course I have never called my students 'children' even though, legally, most of them are. If I need to get everyone's attention at the end of an activity I would say 'Everyone'. If not everyone then I would use their names. Nevertheless, the culture of calling your students 'Guys' is not one I share.

My classroom is a space where students feel safe raising difficult and controversial opinions and where they are able to separate the analysis of a line of argument from emotional responses or personal comments. I believe very strongly that this is only possibly because they know that, ultimately, I am in charge and lessons are not a free for all. They come to my lessons to learn analytical thinking and discursive skills, as well as subject-specific knowledge. They learn quickly that they cannot make cheap shots that ignore the essence of what another person was saying! That is how they get good results.

Genevieva Mon 07-Nov-16 13:59:07

My six year old would take umbrage if anyone spoke to him in a manner akin to Miss Umbridge. He knows his own mind and definitely prefers those teachers who treat him as a thinking person who can understand an explanation, rather than just being told 'because it is'.

OddBoots Mon 07-Nov-16 14:08:12

There is no sixth form at my dd's school so all are 16 or younger and the school calls them students or children in different contexts.

The head teacher tells the parents and children at the Y6 open evening that the school has a policy of acknowledging those that study there as children. This is not intended to mean that they are not responsible for their learning and behaviour but is done as part of the expectation that the children will be the ones accepting teaching and instruction from the teachers and as a function of the children's identity when safeguarding the children from issues such as child sexual exploitation. The head teacher is of the view that children are best supported with clear roles and boundaries.

RiverTam Mon 07-Nov-16 14:11:51

I have no idea as DD is at primary (where they are 'children') but I wish secondaries wouldn't use student, student is someone in tertiary education.

OddBoots Mon 07-Nov-16 14:16:19

"I wish secondaries wouldn't use student, student is someone in tertiary education." I can understand that but what would you call 16-19 year olds at a further education college?

Kel1234 Mon 07-Nov-16 14:26:04

When I was at secondary school ( I left 7 years ago in 2009), we were referred to as students. Pupils is more primary school to me.

hesterton Mon 07-Nov-16 14:30:06

If I write to parents, the letter will refer to "your child" as in "your child has shown exceptional progress blah blah" or "your child is at risk of failing this subject.."

But would refer to them as students otherwise.

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