Giving working class kids a large vocabulary won’t save them from poverty

“The name ‘Sir Jim Rose’ sounds like a solecism to me – surely if you accept a knighthood your moniker should reflect your nobility? Either style yourself Sir James Rose or stick to Jim. Still, not only does his very name embody a linguistic error, but Rose – a former head of Ofsted – has the temerity to be launching a campaign aimed at ‘helping’ those who don’t speak like what they oughta.

“It’s all part of his overhaul of the national curriculum for 7-11 year olds. Rose’s proposals place a strong emphasis on teaching children to ‘recognise when to use formal language, including standard spoken English’. A Government-backed report has identified what it terms ‘word poverty’, and suggests that up to 50 per cent of primary pupils in some areas have speech and language difficulties.

“The solution is for speaking and listening to be considered as subjects in their own right; Rose’s recommendations will build on the £40m Every Child a Talker programme which was launched last year.”

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