Here is a piece of signage at the entrance to a school self-esteem ‘n’ diversity awareness hub in Bermondsey. (Click to enlarge.)
You will note that, upper right, the academy is proud that “Students [are] able to show case their talent in a professional setting”. Walking past the sign fairly often, I grew increasingly exasperated, and eventually fired off an email:
It is really quite appalling, as Prince Charles might say, that your sign at the top of Dunton Road is illiterate. “Showcase” is one word, not two. Having such an elementary error on what I would suppose to be a “showcase” for your academy is like those shopfronts that boast of a “proffesional” service.
Are you going to correct it?
I received the following reply:
Dear Mr Key,
Many thanks for taking the time to email the Academy regarding the mistake on our sign at the top of Dunton Road.
I will raise your concern with the company who design and manufacture our signs so that it does not happen again.
With all good wishes,
You will not be surprised to learn that this only served to increase my exasperation. I wrote back:
It’s not really a case of it being my concern, as if I had sent a complaint about an incident. It’s a basic error on a public sign on an educational institution. Did nobody at the Academy raise “their concern” when the sign was delivered?
You also seem to be suggesting that it is the fault of some arm’s-length supplier, though I suppose that evasion of responsibility is all too common these days.
Marvellous news that “it will not happen again”, but the question I asked was whether you were going to correct the existing sign.
Mr Dane’s response?
Dear Mr Key,
I have asked the design and manufacturing company to explain the cause of the error. The matter will then be dealt with by the Academy internally.
Tempting as it was to stride into the school, locate Mr Dane’s office, and sluice out his brain with some kind of cleansing fluid, I contented myself with the following riposte:
Dear Mr Dane
What an extraordinary reply. Do you ever engage your brain rather than write boilerplate sentences?
Why do you need to have the company explain the error to you? And what precisely do you mean by “dealt with”?
Here is the reply I would have thought fitting from an educational establishment.
“We now realise that one of our public signs is illiterate and gives a thoroughly bad impression of the school. This ought to have been picked up, at least by the English-teaching staff, but nobody noticed. Now you have brought it to our attention we will tear the sign down and replace it with one that is written in correct English.”
Reply came there none. Six months on, the signage is still there. It really is appalling.