Headteachers at schools in Brighton have sparked outrage from parents by cancelling the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ and replacing them with ‘grown ups’, to avoid discriminating against ‘non-traditional’ families.
Parents at four state primary schools in the coastal town said they and their children have become confused by the edict contained in equalities policies, which outline the language staff should use to ensure that students raised in diverse families aren’t stigmatised.
St Luke’s Primary School in Brighton states on its website that they have an Equalities Language Code for staff, ie. to value all families, and that they never refer to ‘mums and dads’ and instead talk about ‘grown ups’.
Elm Grove Primary School maintains in its Equalities Statement that they endeavour to talk about their ‘grown ups’ rather than their ‘mums and dads’ to acknowledge the different family groups their students live in.
The guidance to ‘cancel’ the words ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ is also upheld in the school vision statement of Carlton Hill Primary School, which states that they try to talk about their ‘grown ups’ rather than their ‘mums and dads’ to acknowledge the different family groupings their pupils live in.
One parent with a child at the school told a newspaper outlet that it was very confusing for adults, let alone the children, and they didn’t understand why the teachers just can’t call them ‘mums or dads’.
And said that they knew that the schools were trying to take into account the different kinds of families students might come from, but the majority have a mum or dad, regardless if they were together or not, so couldn’t the schools and staff just keep it simple for the children and call their parents what they are, ‘mum and dad’.
Another added that in attempting to be more inclusive, the schools were overlooking mum and dad, the most important people in a child’s life, and it was simply madness and where would it stop?
The schools claim they’re abstaining from using ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ because of the increasing number of children that aren’t brought up by their birth parents.
One school, Saltdean Primary said on its Equality and Diversity Policy that it prefers to use another term entirely.
It said that with language, they use the words parents, carers rather than ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ as they recognise that their families are made up of numerous different people, and that when starting at Saltdean, they discuss and communicate what makes a family for them, and that it allows children to see different family dynamics than their own but also enables them to realise that it’s the relationships that make a family.
This is a matter of choice, rather than direction, and it’s up to a child what they want to call their parents, especially if they’re in a foster situation or in local care. It’s not up to the child to chose, it’s up to the teacher because they should be informed if a child only has one parent, or in foster care, or local authority care, and in those circumstances these part-time parents should be called ‘custodians’.
This is an awful thing to do and it’s no more than control, and this country is turning into a joke, and thank goodness my children have now left school, but I was always the grown-up with no husband about to help, but it seems that now mums and dads are being cancelled out because in reality, parents these days don’t have control over their children, the government do!
It shouldn’t be the school’s decision on what a parent should be called, but the parent themselves, and schools shouldn’t have dictated powers.