Use of plain English

In all communications, plain English principles should be adopted – we write engaging content appropriate to the audience and which easily gets the message across in a friendly way. This approach also has the advantage of being faster to write and faster to read, so you can get your message across more often and more easily.

Key tips

  • Remember to cover the basic questions – who, what, where, when, how and why. Try and think, if I were to receive this, what questions may I have.
  • Keep in mind the audience you are trying to reach, without making assumptions about their knowledge base or views.
  • Use words that are appropriate for the reader – say exactly what you mean, using the simplest words that fit. This does not necessarily mean only using simple words, just words that the reader will understand.
  • Avoid using specialist jargon. Keep to everyday English whenever possible – imagine talking to your reader across a table.
  • Where possible, use the active, rather than the passive form of a verb as it can make the sentence simpler and shorter. For example, ‘we have decided’ rather than ‘it has been decided that’.
  • Use ‘you’ and ‘we’.
  • Keep your sentences short – stick to one main idea in a sentence and to an average of 15 to 20 words.
  • And always check that your writing is clear, helpful, human and polite.

Inclusive language

Using inclusive language and addressing our reader directly can help engage them. Often this can be done by using words like ‘us’, ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘your’ or ‘our’. Using inclusive language also means not singling out, or excluding a group, whether it’s someone of a different gender, ethnic origin or ability.


Many words or commonly used phrases may be perceived as making assumptions about gender or stereotyping. We make content gender neutral as much as possible. We avoid masculine and feminine pronouns. Our content uses ‘you’ where appropriate and sometimes ‘they’, ‘their’ or ‘them’ unless this would be confusing.


The word ‘disabled’ is a description, not a group of people. Use ‘disabled people’ not ‘the disabled’ as the collective term. Don’t automatically refer to ‘disabled people’ in all communications – people who access disability services may not identify with this term. Consider using ‘people with health conditions or impairments’ if it seems more appropriate. Avoid passive, victim words. Use language that respects disabled people as active individuals with control over their own lives.

More guidance on writing about disability is available on the GOV.UK website.

Referring to the Trust

In all communications, when referring to Diverse Academies in singular form as simply the ‘Trust’, the word should have initial capitals.

The way we articulate the relationship between an individual academy and Diverse Academies as a group will vary depending on the specific context. In instances where it is likely that the reader will be unfamiliar with the Trust name, the full wording should be included i.e. Diverse Academies Trust. Once established in the reader’s mind, the shorter ‘Diverse Academies’ can be used.

Students, pupils or children

In secondary and post 16 settings we refer to ‘students’. In some instances the use of ‘young people’ is a suitable alternative.

In primary and special academies, ‘pupil’ is the established naming convention. However, ‘children’ is frequently used and portrays a warm, friendly tone appropriate to these settings.

Parents, carers or families

Across our communications, the use of ‘parents and carers’ and ‘families’ are acceptable methods to address contacts of pupils and students at home.