30 November 2010

Error-filled school report elicits apology

A head teacher has been forced to apologise after a school report was sent to a parent containing 14 spelling and grammatical errors. The form tutor sent the ''shocking'' email to the parents of a pupil in her class at Gleed Girls' Technology College, in Spalding, Lincs.

Some of the mistakes seem to be typing errors made in haste, such as "requriements" and "everning". But others, such as "boardering" and "occaisions" indicate a need for the teacher to be sent back to primary school.
That was interesting, but I also found these comments of interest:
Marie Clair, spokeswoman for the Plain English Campaign, said: ''I think this teacher should go back to school themselves – it is appalling.

''Teachers who do this should wear their own dunces hats when they make so many mistakes.
"This teacher... themselves," "dunces hats" without an apostrophe. The latter may be a mistake by The Telegraph, but the former is supposed to be direct quote of the spokeswoman for Plain English.


addendum:  One comment indicates that I may be wrong in my critique of the use of "themselves," which is gender-neutral and thus doesn't betray the sex of the subject.  But it seems to me that then it would have to be "themself", and in any case the sentence would be fine without any reflexive term.


  1. To be fair, if the gender of the teacher was in question, it would be common and not unreasonable to use themselves instead of him- or herself.

    As for the dunces hats, that look like an editing error.

  2. Anon, you may be right. I'll put on an addendum and see what others say (I think there are some copyeditors who browse this blog).

  3. As a poor speller I can relate. But computers have spell-check. (I would rather see a poor spelling than poor math skills.)

  4. Most of those can be attributed to spell-check reliance and lack of proofreading more than anything else. The person sent a first draft without checking, which is just plain dumb on general principle unless you know you write well.

    In conclusion, I think any drama is mostly for the wrong reason. The spelling isn't the issue, it is a symptom. Failing to proof your own work for official correspondence? Blech. That's just plain dumb.

  5. It really shocks me that people make such basic mistakes in the age of spell check but I never try to say anything because I know I could have made a mistake in this sentence myself.


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