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 A lesson in filth: Fury as church school pupils told to write down rudest words they know

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Registration date : 2009-01-03

PostSubject: A lesson in filth: Fury as church school pupils told to write down rudest words they know   Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:57 pm

A lesson in filth: Fury as church school pupils told to write down rudest words they know

By Laura Clark
Last updated at 8:02 AM on 19th February 2009

A church school teacher asked a class of ten-year-olds to write down the rudest words they know and rank them in order of offensiveness.

Parents were horrified when their children returned home with exercise books littered with expletives – and asked what the words meant.

As part of an anti-bullying lesson, class teacher Fred Laband asked pupils to write a list of hurtful words commonly levelled at the victims of bullying and classify them from ‘really upsetting’ to ‘harmless’.

'Inappropriate': Head Alison Evans apologised to parents at her school, right

They came up with obscenities including crude slang for sex acts and words for male and female genitalia.

Many of the terms were displayed on a board in front of the class at Great and Little Shelford Church of England Primary in Great Shelford, near Cambridge.

Mr Laband was teaching anti-bullying as part of the Government’s Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning programme.

Nicknamed lessons in ‘happiness’, they aim to improve children’s well-being and reduce disruptive behaviour.

He asked pupils at the high-achieving primary to categorise the insults under four headings.

The ‘really upsetting’ group included some of the most obscene words in the English language, which are too offensive to be published in the Daily Mail.

The ‘upsetting’ bracket contained words such as ‘p***head’ and ‘fat arse’.

‘Not nice’ included terms such as ‘big ears’, ‘dork’ and ‘bitch’. The ‘harmless’ group featured insults such as ‘nutty’, ‘thicko’, ‘imbecile’, ‘donkey’ and ‘dweeb’.

Parents spoke of their disbelief the lesson had taken place and accused the school of encouraging bullying and bad language.

One mother, who declined to be named, said: ‘You don’t expect your children to learn this kind of filth at school, particularly one linked to the Church. When my ten-year- old showed me an exercise book with words rewarded with a tick from the teacher, I was disgusted.’

Another said: ‘It seems the whole lesson was spent encouraging the kids to come up with as many nasty swear words as they could.

‘Obviously some of them were more streetwise than others, and an element of competitiveness was encouraged. Many of the kids came home with a new vocabulary of filth.’

In a letter to parents, headmistress Alison Evans said: ‘On reflection, it has been agreed that it was inappropriate to record these words in writing and the pages have been removed [from exercise books].’

Alastair MacGregor, chairman of the governors, said: ‘We deeply regret this happened. We are investigating what happened, and are taking appropriate disciplinary action, but I cannot comment on what.’

Mr Laband, an experienced teacher, had adapted a standard lesson plan issued as part of the SEAL programme, he said.

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