British schools are dropping the s-word — “school” — in favor of “place for learning” or “advanced learning centre,” reports the Times of London. Some secondary schools are renaming themselves “colleges” to sound “upmarket.”
Watercliffe Meadow in Sheffield, formed by merging three schools, is “a place for learning,” says head teacher Linda Kingdon.
. . . many of the parents of the children here had very negative connotations of school. Instead, we want this to a be a place for family learning, where anyone can come. . . . There are no whistles or bells or locked doors. We wanted to deinstitutionalise the place and bring the school closer to real life,” she said.
Under a government plan, all schools have till 2010 to provide year-round, full-day child care on site or nearby. Schools also are supposed to offer evening and holiday classes for adults.
Here in the U.S., “academy” is the hot word, usually referring to a school for low-income students. I’d like to see more honesty in labeling: Let students choose between a school, a social center and penitentiary prep. I really think most would pick “school” if the choice was clear.