Watercliffe Meadow Community Primary School is a primary school in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. It is notable for changing its name from a "school" to "A place of learning" in January 2009, with staff at Watercliffe Meadow claiming that this was because, "the word school may have negative connotations for pupils and parents." The change was attacked for being too politically correct.Name changeThe criticised "change" of name from "school" to "A place for learning" was reported with varying degrees of inaccuracy as being an early decision when the new school was formed as a merge between three former primary schools: Shirecliffe, Busk Meadow and Watermead infant and junior schools, at a cost of £4.7 million. Linda Kingdon, the head teacher said: "This is Watercliffe Meadow, a place for learning. One reason was many of the parents of the children here had very negative connotations of school. Instead, we want this to a be a place for family learning, where anyone can come. We were able to start from scratch and create a new type of learning experience. There are no whistles or bells or locked doors. We wanted to deinstitutionalise the place and bring the school closer to real life."The name on the sign was criticised, with people arguing that the change is too politically correct. Whilst this was exaggerated by dint of the fact that the tabloid media reported, inaccurately, that the word school had been banned (and in fact it merely didn't appear on the sign and continues to be used daily by staff, parents and pupils) the slogan itself opened the school up to ridicule. There was also press emphasis on the name "change", when in fact the subtitle to the School (Watercliffe Meadow) has been fixed since before the material completion or opening of the premises. Further to this misrepresentation, Sheffield Star contacted Marie Clair from Plain English Campaign who said: "It's laughable. Do they think by changing the name they will change the environment? We all know what the building is. There is this whole political correctness agenda. Using unfamiliar words instead of a simple one, like 'school', will get in the way of children's ability to learn."
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