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News & views

Proofreaders kneaded, and for dough

[26 Nov 2012] Some outrage in the newspapers last week about an Ipswich school advertising for a proofreader to check its teachers’ reports to parents (er, for things like sentences lacking a main verb).

The advert from Northgate High School in Suffolk said the recruit’s duties will include correcting ‘spelling mistakes, poor or missing punctuation, incorrect capitalisation’ and improving ‘poor grammar’.

Why so?

‘The school reports to parents on a regular basis about how well their child is progressing at school. The post holder will check and amend the electronic reports to ensure that they are well-written and complete before being released to parents.’

A bit of extra income for proofreaders can’t be all bad, and anyone who’s had children knows that some teachers are careless and clumsy writers.

Here’s a recent email, sent to us by our Cheshire correspondent, which was created by a teacher responsible for literacy work with seven-year-olds. It responds (sort of) to concerns that the girls’ soccer team had been supervised only by the opposing side’s coach during a match in which five team members were injured:

‘Hi, yes got back to Burton fine last night, thank you for your assistance for the transport. Yes I realised that at the moment got their and next time a two matches are happening at the same time, I will have two members of staff present. It was definitely a learning curve for the future and I am disappointed to her of all the injuries.’

Meanwhile … The burghers of Malmesbury, north Wiltshire, one of England’s oldest boroughs and home to the country’s first king, Athelstan, could have used a proofreader in their walking guide to the town. The otherwise well-written and beautifully presented leaflet offers the following apostrophe howlers: it’s beauty; it’s graceful interlaced arcading; it’s charming cottages; it’s story; it’s name. [cont]

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