University of Manchester tells staff not to call over 60s 'elderly' because it's 'ageist'

Dozens of universities and schools have adopted the more inclusive language guidelines for both students and staff

Staff at the University of Manchester have been told to stop calling older people 'OAPs' and 'pensioners' for fear of being ageist.

Staff at the leading university, alongside other institutions, have been told to instead refer to people over 60 years old as 'mature individuals', 'older people' or simply 'learners'.

Dozens of universities and schools have adopted the more inclusive language guidelines for both students and staff - which also warns against using terms like 'diabetic' or 'blind'. Instead, it's advised 'person with diabetes' or 'people with visual impairments' are used.

At the University of Manchester, age is part of its inclusive language guide.

It says: 'Only include age if it is relevant, for example, with initiatives that are only available for a particular age group'.

At Milton Keynes College, such terms are also discouraged.

Its Inclusive Language Guide says: 'Language is a powerful tool for creating a welcoming and inclusive environment, however we all know how it feels when words make us feel left out or devalued.

'As part of MK College Group's diversity and inclusion journey, we have produced this guide to avoid inadvertently making people feel excluded or offended.

'Discrimination through language, whether intended or not, causes offence, patronises and may also be unlawful.'

Speaking about age, it went on: 'Only refer to someone's age if it is relevant, for example where courses or funding are only available for a particular age group.

A spokesman for the University of Manchester told the MailOnline: 'Our guidance document encourages the use of more inclusive language to avoid bias or assumptions and not to talk to people in ways they might perceive as disrespectful.

'This is in line with our values and commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion.

'We believe it is entirely right for us to communicate with people in the most appropriate and respectful way we can.

'Our approach is in line with most other organisations, who would not use 'OAP' in an official communication.'