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‘Orwellian language’ in schools is turning pupils into ‘customers’, finds damning report

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Laura Clark
UK Daily Mail
Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Schools using ‘Orwellian language’ are turning teenagers into ‘customers’ rather than students, a landmark report says today.

Phrases such as ‘performance indicators’ and ‘curriculum delivery’ are interfering with the enthusiasm teachers have for doing their jobs, the six-year investigation finds.

The Oxford-based Nuffield Review, the most comprehensive study of secondary education in 50 years, said that ‘the words we use shape our thinking’.


And the report said that ‘the Orwellian language (seeping through government documents) of “performance management and control” has come to dominate educational deliberation and planning’.

Teachers are inundated with the language of measurable ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’, ‘performance indicators’ and ‘audits’, ‘targets’ and ‘curriculum delivery’, ‘customers’ and ‘deliverers’, ‘efficiency gains’ and ‘bottom lines’, it said.

In a damning indictment, the report said that a culture of hitting targets, where ‘cuts in resources are euphemistically called “efficiency gains”‘, has led to ‘the consumer or client’ replacing ‘the learner’.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 4:19 am

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