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Pupil or student?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by nizebaby, Jun 5, 2020.

  1. nizebaby

    nizebaby Star commenter

    I have always used the word pupil for primary-aged and lower secondary- aged children. Is there anyone out the who agrees with me?
  2. smoothnewt

    smoothnewt Star commenter

    Students frequent the post-compulsory education sector, as far as I am concerned. The conscripts up to the age of 16 at least are pupils in my estimation. Post-16 is more of a grey area for me. I might be generous and call them students. The trouble is that so many of them are not actually there studying of their own volition, which for me is the essence of a "student".
    It used to annoy me when teaching French that my pupils would try to use the word "étudiant" (university student) instead of "élève", which is the correct word for learners in their age bracket.
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Pupil, as far as I am concerned, for an individual in compulsory education. Student thereafter.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I tend to use 'pupils' for Primary age and 'students' for Secondary age.
    needabreak, Marshall, Jamvic and 5 others like this.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    If you are writing a job application, just check what the school says in its documents and website. Then when you've finished, do a search on your documents for the other word, to ensure that you are consistent and haven't let the other one slip in somewhere.

    Keep safe, everyone
    Laphroig, strawbs, Marshall and 9 others like this.
  6. foroff2233

    foroff2233 New commenter

    1/2 way thru' my career those who wore posh suits and pastel ties began calling pupils students. I never took to this: if Plato was Socrates' pupil why change? About this time an avalanche of terms from pop psychology/ management consultancy arrived at the school gates. You all know them and some of you use them. (Proactive is just one of my betes noires). Add your pet hates at will.
    Alice K, Marshall, nomad and 2 others like this.
  7. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Either is less sick-making than "our learners".
    Bungie, Laphroig, needabreak and 18 others like this.
  8. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    Always student for me.
  9. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    We have a school badge, school motto, school placards all over, school paper, school notice boards and school excercise books with the logo. So it's a bit of a disappointing missed trick that we don't also call our kids "clients"
    Laphroig, nizebaby, Marshall and 3 others like this.
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Me too but I mix and match a bit. Depends how studious the pupils/students are being! :)
    Jamvic and agathamorse like this.
  11. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Depends on context, kids when talking to fellow teachers, pupils to be more formal, students maybe for 6th form. We had a HT who moved on to "learners" and "our young people", no-one joined him.
  12. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I'll go with "empowering".
  13. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Ah yes:
    Pupils have morphed into students.
    Schools have morphed into academies.

    Apart from a local state secondary school, which, when it added a primary school to its site, called it XX Prep School!! Not sure who they were trying to fool, but not the locals for sure. However, I suppose it MIGHT look good on future CVs if you can claim you went to a Prep School as a child, for those employers for whom that might be important! ;)
    smoothnewt likes this.
  14. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I don’t like the word pupil. How about child / children ? Always use student for Secondary ?
    needabreak and Marshall like this.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    ...parents have morphed into stakeholders
    Marshall, Jamvic and chelsea2 like this.
  16. abwdSTEM

    abwdSTEM Occasional commenter


    I always thought of pupil as being part of the eye before entering teaching and just couldn't lose that image. (sorry bad pun intended)
    minnie me and agathamorse like this.
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I often hear 'kids' used for Primary but only by staff informally, not in school documentation.
    Marshall likes this.
  18. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Buses transporting children and young people to and from school hereabouts have the word "Scholars" emblazoned on the front. Although the word "scholar" derives from "school" and would therefore appear to be an ideal word to denote anybody enrolled in a school, it seldom seems to be used as such in the English-speaking world.

    On the other hand, the German word for school, "Schule", has derivatives "Schüler" (male) and "Schülerin" (female) for anybody attending a school. The terms "Schüler" and "Schülerin" are used throughout the German-speaking world.

    Time for the word "scholar" to be restored to more general use?
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2020
    Alice K, agathamorse and smoothnewt like this.
  19. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    I seem to be hearing it a lot lately.
    Any sentence containing "Our thoughts and prayers".
    EmanuelShadrack and agathamorse like this.
  20. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    Pupils for me. I actually found myself shouting at the TV when the newsreader was talking about primary school "students" returning to school.

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