St. Mary’s Menston Editorial Style Guide
Last updated: 29/08/2018
Welcome to the St. Mary’s Menston Editorial Style Guide. We aim for all school communication to adhere to this style guide but it is particularly important for communications with parents and carers and online (public web pages).
If you experience any problems or ever have any questions or suggestions relating to our style guide, please contact one of the following:
- Anne Tindall firstname.lastname@example.org
- Jackie Ash email@example.com
Contents and logos © St. Mary’s Menston 2018
Why does St. Mary’s need an Editorial Style Guide?
St. Mary’s Menston is proud of its status and reputation. Every year, tens of thousands of people see communication materials (and online) from our school. Each one of these communication materials represents St. Mary’s. Consistency across all this communication is important to get our message across, which is why a style guide is helpful. We want all our communications to follow this style guide.
Editorial style guides created for a particular organisation are also called “house style.” Our house style helps ensure consistency across all our documents and online by standardising the content. Beyond imposing accurate grammar and spelling, our style guide sets the voice and tone of the content – making it easier for us to get our message across. Other advantages are that it helps group collaboration and training new members of staff. Our editorial style guide has conclusively proved it can speed up many decision making processes leading to efficiency gains from minimising time consuming guess work and ambiguity.
Do other schools and organisations have Editorial Style Guides?
Yes - and so do many businesses and organisations worldwide: technology, academia, commerce, health, science, entertainment, food and sport.
Who maintains the Editorial Style Guide?
The style guide team comprises Anne Tindall, Duncan Baines, Gillian Osborne, Jackie Ash.
How do I keep up with changes to the Editorial Style Guide?
Now the Editorial Style Guide is online, the latest style guide will be available on this web page so if you visit stmarysmenston.org/editorial-style-guide then you know it is the latest version.
How do I suggest a change to the Editorial Style Guide?
If you can think of any ways to improve it – please let us know by contacting Anne Tindall, Duncan Baines or Jackie Ash.
Where can I look for guidance on something that does not appear in the Editorial Style Guide?
Please use the Collins Dictionary for anything that does not appear in the style guide or contact Anne Tindall, Duncan Baines or Jackie Ash and we may be able to help.
How are exceptions to the Editorial Style Guide dealt with? How are conflicts resolved?
A decision would be made by the style guide team: Anne Tindall, Duncan Baines, Gillian Osborne, Jackie Ash will discuss it, and if needed the Senior Leadership Team.
Contractions and abbreviations such as Prof, Dr, Ltd, Mr, Co, Inc, Rev, Mgr do not need a point.
Omit the points for ie and eg:
ie not i.e. eg not e.g.
Abbreviations we use in school also do not need to be used with points:
PE not P.E. DT not D.T.
Accents on Foreign Words
Try to put accents on foreign words.
On Windows: In Microsoft Office, go to the Insert tab and then choose Symbols.
Another quick and easy way is to 'Google' the word and then paste the result (which would contain the accent character(s)) into Microsoft Word.
On Apple: Hold down the key you want and the choices appear eg hold down the 'u' key and the choices ŭ ü ù ú ū appear.
Acronyms and initialisms
An acronym is an abbreviation used as a word which is formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word eg NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) or UNICEF (United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund).
Initialisms are different from acronyms because they are not pronounced as a word, but simply spelled the way they appear. For example, DVD (Digital Versatile Disc) and ATM ( Automated Teller Machine).
Acronyms and initialisms can confuse readers who are not familiar with them. Try to avoid using them unless they are already known to the audience.
If the audience are not familiar, but it has to be used, write it out in full the first time, after which you can then refer to it by the initials:
Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) and then subsequently MFL
Do not use points in them:
MFL not M.F.L
At St. Mary’s Menston ampersands should only be used in headlines and organisation names:
Bettys & Taylors Group
Where possible, do not draw boxes around labels.
Do not use underlining.
Try to have straight lines on labels.
Use the ‘smart quote’ character for apostrophes. Don’t use a prime character.
Rey’s not Rey's
Try to not use shortened words. For example, I’ll, shouldn’t, don’t, won’t, can’t.
Its and it’s
Its indicates possession, eg the donkey stretched its legs.
It’s indicates a missing letter, eg It is not true becomes It’s not true.
The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust
The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust was formed on 1 March 2013.
The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust website is:
You may see the following text on St. Mary's Menston documents:
The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust is a charity and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales
Company Number: 8399801
St. Mary's Menston, A Catholic Voluntary Academy
We recommend using the New Jerusalem Bible to check Biblical quotes.
There is always a copy of the New Jerusalem Bible available for staff to consult in our Chapel.
The full text is also available online catholic.org/bible
The New Jerusalem Bible is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible is the most widely used Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.
Start bullet points with a colon.
There are many benefits to revising PE and Sport:
Only use circles for bullet points (not stars, squares, asterisks, happy faces, arrows etc)
Try not to use all capital letters:
This week you have to remember your ID badges.
This week YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER YOUR ID BADGES.
Catholics refer to their church as the Church, with a capital 'C'
the Church not the church
Mass not mass
Chapel not chapel
God not god
Lord not lord
internet not Internet
email not Email
School Home not school home
Staff Home not staff home
Student Home not student home
Twitter not twitter
Tweet not tweet
Building and Room names at St. Mary's Menston do have capital letters on both words:
Common Room, Sports Hall, Pupil Reception, Visitor Reception
not common room, sports hall, pupil reception, visitor reception
Job titles should have capital letters:
Site Manager not site manager
Subject names should have capital letters:
Maths department not maths department
Try to place captions below or adjacent to the image.
When writing about web links, putting ‘Click here’ is not recommended. It means the content is not accessible to search engines ie Google and can make emails go into spam as the ‘click here’ is an indicator on spam filters and is used a lot in phishing emails. Furthermore, it makes it harder to browse websites as visitors often do not know quite what they are clicking on until they have done it (often wasting their time).
Use contextual links instead – especially on our website and School Home.
For more information please see the Safety and Security Information for Visitors 2015–16 (PDF)
to read our safety leaflet please click here
Use a colon:
- Before a list. There will be three courses: pea soup, fishcakes and ice-cream.
- Before a summary. To summarise: we arrived late at night, unpacked and then the electricity went off
- Before a quote. As Hayao Miyazaki wrote: “Do everything by hand, even when using the computer.”
St. Mary’s has conventions we would like staff to follow:
- Ofsted not OFSTED
- safeguarding not safe guarding
- help desk not helpdesk
- SIMS not Sims
- website not web site
- School Home not Learning Platform or VLE
- Bambisanani Partnership
- German Exchange not Germany Exchange
- Sixth Form not 6th form or VI form
- Student Council not School Council
- Year 7 not Y7, Year Seven
- Years 9 and 10 not Year 9 and 10 or Year 9 and Year 10
- U15 not U-15, Under-15
- Inter-school not Inter school
- Intra-school not Intra school
- Department for Education or DfE
- extra-curricular not extra curricular
- Parents and carers not just Parents
- Learning Support not SEN
- Hat-trick not Hatrick
- Children who are looked after not looked after children
- Growth mindset not Growth mind-set
We refer to our audience of the website as visitors, not as readers or viewers
We refer to former pupils, not past pupils or ex-pupils.
Try to use visit not trip when describing a visit eg 'The museum visit'
Use these names for places around school:
- Artifical Turf Pitch (ATP) not 3G pitch or any other variation
- Covered Area
- Gymnasium M4
- Performing Arts Studio H7 not Drama Studio
- Sixth Form Common Room M3
- Dining Hall
- Main Hall M1
- Small Hall M2
- Study Centre H22 not H22
- Top Yard, Middle Yard, Bottom Yard
- The Bishop Wheeler Catholic Academy Trust Office
If you need to check the names for other places in school, please see the map (opposite our Sixth Form Common Room M3) or the map of school site page on our website.
Use cardinal numbers (1,2,3 etc) and in the order:
31 May 1999 or Wednesday 31 May 2019
Wednesday, 31 May 2019 or 31st May or May 31
2018–19 not 18–19 or 2018–2019 or 2018–9
Put the year in full:
Sports Day 2019 not Sports Day ’19
Dashes are longer than hyphens.
Dash: – (this is called an 'en' dash)
Use dashes with a space either side.
Use dashes for:
- Date range The 1995–96 season
- Page number range p10–90
- Page range a school for 11–18 year olds
- Compound words where both parts are equal, such as 'the Leeds–Harrogate cycling event’. Note, if the first part of the compound is not a complete word, a hyphen should be used. For example, The Franco-Prussian War.
- Pauses in a sentence. For example: Gonzo did not want to look at the paintings – he went straight to the sculptures on the first floor.
How to do dashes:
On Windows: Press Alt + type the numbers 0150
On Apple: Press Alt + the - key
Use the ellipsis when quoting material and you want to omit some words. The ellipsis consists of three evenly spaced points (dots) with spaces between the ellipsis and surrounding characters.
"He who is unable to live in society . . . must be either a beast or a god."
Instead of typing three full points and spaces, use the ellipsis character instead.
Do not use capital letters in email addresses:
firstname.lastname@example.org not Mousem01@gmail.com
Do not put a full stop at the end of a sentence if it comes after someone’s email address because it can be confusing.
Use italics for:
- Foreign words: It has become de rigueur
- With titles of works, the title is italicised so it stands out: We watched Roman Holiday on Sunday afternoon.
Leading is the vertical space between lines. If the leading is too narrow or too wide, text will be harder to read.
On Microsoft Word it is called line spacing. Try to use the 1.0 line spacing setting.
On Adobe InDesign, the leading should be larger than the typeface.
Please use the terms ‘first name’ and ‘last name’.
Different St. Mary's staff have their name presented to the public in different ways, usually based on the nature of their role. For example whether their first name (or an initial) is given. Please speak to the Editorial Style Guide team for more information.
From March 2013 onwards, our school has been called:
St. Mary’s Menston, a Catholic Voluntary Academy
Names also allowed:
St. Mary’s, Menston
St. Mary’s Menston
St. Mary’s Menston Catholic Voluntary Academy
The desire for everyone to use the correct name is an important example of all staff can contribute towards our identity. The more staff refer to school as Menston St. Mary’s or Saint Mary’s RC Comprehensive etc. the longer the confusion over the correct name will continue. Note: we are NOT called St. Mary’s Catholic High School, Menston anymore.
Remember it is
St. not St
Mary’s not Marys
Do not ever underline anywhere, with the exception that it may be used for email and website addresses.
Try not to end (an orphan) or begin (a widow) a column or page with a single line of a paragraph.
Try to avoid ending a paragraph with a single word.
Only use one exclamation mark.
You only need to use one! not You only need to use one!!!
St. Mary's Menston faculty names:
- Creative Subjects and Performing Arts
- Maths and ICT
- Modern Foreign Languages
- PE, Sport and Psychology
- Religious Education
Over 100 then put it in figures so you would write ninety three and 793.
If using a number at the start of a sentence, spell it out in full:
Twelve Year 13 pupils are studying medicine next year.
Use a comma for thousand, millions and billions:
1,000 not 1000 4,200,004 not 4200004
Do not spell hundreds as 100s.
Spell out million and billion in full. However, in headlines, use m or bn, eg Apple make £13bn profit
When dealing with money, figures on different lines should ideally be right aligned or aligned on the point:
Always try to include the file path on internal documents.
Use Arial 8pt, in the footer
Where possible, use the font Arial in the body text of school communications, especially with parents and carers. This font family has been tested as being the most legible font to read on-screen and in print. For more information, please see Page 9 in the St. Mary's Identity Standard document.
Use Arial, size 12pt on school documents, size 10pt if necessary.
Try to not use less than 10pt for body text as anything smaller can be too hard to read.
Try to spell out common fractions:
New research from Leeds indicates that two-thirds of employers are optimistic about the state of the economy.
Do not use the pronoun ‘he’ unless definitely referring to a male. Where you are writing about an unknown person who may be male or female, try to use a plural.
if students submit their assessments early… is better than if a student submits his/her... and if a student submits his…
Use words for jobs and roles that clearly include both sexes. For example: ‘contributions from business’ (or ‘contributions from business people’) rather than ‘contributions from businessmen’. Use Chair or Head (not Chairman or Chairwoman), firefighter not fireman.
Grammar (common mistakes)
At the start of a sentence, use:
Angelina and I not Me and Angelina
Should have, would have, could have not Should of, would of, could of
“And also” is redundant; write just “and” or “also.”
FOR SALE/ON SALE
When selling something, it's for sale; but if the price is lowered, then it goes on sale.
You log on to a website by entering your username and password. When encouraging people to visit a website which has no such requirement, it is misleading to ask them to “log on” to the website. Use visit or go to not log on to.
Less means "a smaller amount or quantity of" and fewer means "a smaller number of",
Hanging punctuation is a method of setting punctuation marks outside the margins of a body of text. This creates the appearance of an even edge in the text. It is encouraged to be used where possible, particularly on displays.
Headers and Footers
Running headers and footers are the text that appears in the top and bottom margins of each page to help with navigation through the document.
Running headers are particularly useful on long documents.
All internal documents should always have the file path and page numbers in the footer.
The aim of typographic hierarchies (Heading 1, Heading 2, Heading 3) is to help readers find their way around easily. The longer and more complex the document, the more important it is to make it easy to follow and as coherent as possible.
Due to the way that people 'skim' through writing on screens, it is particularly important to use typographic hierarchies when writing for them.
Text files often need to be ‘tidied up’.
- Double returns
- Incorrect apostrophes and quote marks
Initials do not need full points:
D F Duck not D.F. Duck
A way of writing a word (usually compound) that uses a capital letter in the middle of the word. Make sure to include the capital letter in the middle of the word:
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc
Try to avoid using them by spelling out the word:
St. Mary’s finished second not St. Mary’s finished 2nd
Page Numbers (folios)
If the document needs to be referred to, then use page numbers.
Use arabic numbers (not Roman) throughout.
Use a line space between paragraphs.
At St. Mary’s Menston we have no indents on paragraphs and they are formatted to the left.
- Our Lady and All Saints, Otley
- Saints Peter and Paul, Yeadon
- Saints John Fisher and Thomas More, Burley in Wharfedale
- Sacred Heart of Jesus, Ilkley
- St. Joseph's, Pudsey
- Our Lady of Kirkstall
- Our Lady and English Martyrs, Addingham
Percentages: Use % symbol not per cent
99% delighted not 99 per cent delighted
Prime characters are used to denote feet and inches.
Try to use italic primes:
2'6'' long not 2'6'' long
If both metric and imperial dimensions are used it is preferable to use abbreviations:
A 1.8 x 2.4m (6 x 8ft) metal sheet
Our five feeder Primary schools:
- St Joseph's Catholic Primary School Otley, a Voluntary Academy
- Ss Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School, a Voluntary Academy
- Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Ilkley, a Voluntary Academy
- St. Mary's Horsforth Catholic Voluntary Academy
- St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School Pudsey, a Voluntary Academy
Qualifications do not need full points:
Barney Rubble PhD
Spaces after sentences
Use either one or two spaces after a point at the end of a sentence.
cats. Dogs are also
cats. Dogs are also
Spelling (Common Mistakes)
Make sure your spellcheck is set to British English not American English.
- Achieve not Acheive
- Assessment not Asessment
- Association not Asociation
- Behaviour not Behavior
- Business not Busines
- Canon law not Cannon law
- Coordinate not co-ordinate
- Definite not Definate
- Definitely not Definitaly
- Dickenson not Dickinson
- Disastrous not Disasterous
- Environment not Enviroment
- February not Febuary
- Government not Goverment
- Grey not Gray
- Library not Libary
- Necessary not Neccesary
- Organisation not Organization
- Organise not Organize
- Personnel not Personel
- Professional not Proffesional
- Psychology not Pyschology
- Recognise not Recognize
- Religious not Religeous
- Sawubona not Sawabona
- Sincerely not Sincerly
- Therefore not Therfore
- Twelfth not Twelth
- Vulnerable not Vunerable
ADVICE NOT ADVISE
When Anne advises people, she gives them advice.
An altar is a table or flat surface where religious rituals take place.
To alter is to change something.
The adjective aural refers to sounds perceived by the ear.
The adjective oral relates to the mouth.
When paying someone a compliment like “I love what you've done with the belt!” you are being complimentary. A free bonus item is also a complimentary gift. But items or people that go well with each other are complementary.
PRACTICE AND PRACTISE
Practice is a noun, practise is a verb. “The only thing Dean didn't like about piano practice was practising his scales.”
PROGRAMME AND PROGRAM
The spelling “programme” is used for broadcasts and schedules of various kinds (musical programme, programme of studies, theatre programme). However, in all computer-related contexts, the UK standard spelling is “program.”
Do not split the following:
- Anyone not Any one
- Anything not Any thing
- Cannot not Can not
- Meantime not Mean time
- Nevertheless not Never the less
- Online not On line
- Someone not Some one
- Something not Some thing
- Somewhat not Some what
- Whatever not What ever
Do split the following:
- A lot not Alot
- After all not Afterall
- Thank you not Thankyou
- Up to not upto
St. Mary's Menston Contact Details
St. Mary’s Menston
Tel: 01943 883000
Email address: email@example.com
We do not put our fax number anymore - fax is an outdated, legacy communication method.
On school communications, it helps readers to give a range of contact options – email, phone number, internal extension, person, any relevant online
The recommended style for telephone numbers is as follows:
If used in an international context:
+44 (0)1943 883000
Always use left aligned (unjustified) in body text. Left aligned text with a ‘ragged’ right-hand margin is the most legible as it is easier to find the start and finish of each line. The spaces between each word are also equal.
Avoid centred text titles as it breaks the familiar pattern of the user scanning down the left hand side. This is especially important to follow online (people 'speed read' a lot more online than in print).
Write times in the format:
8am - 5.30pm or 8am to 5.30pm not 8:00a.m.-17:30p.m.
am and pm not AM and PM
Periods of time:
Our standard format is 3 – 14 September or 3 September – 15 October
This could also be written as from 3 September to 15 October.
Make sure website addresses (URLs) are blue (the shade of blue to use is #0000FF or R=0, G=0, B=255).
They can either be underlined or not, italicized or not.
Do not include the final forward slash at the end of the address.
Do not include the https:// unless the URL doesn’t have a www.
Try to avoid publishing a very long URL (longer than one line of text). To reduce the length of an address you can go to www.bit.ly and replace it with something shorter and easier or use a contextual link.
Do not use a full stop at the end of a sentence that finishes with a URL or an email address.
Remember that capital letters can make a difference in a URL.
If you are putting a website address, email or phone number always test it to make sure it is correct.
Writing should be:
- positive and respectful
- easy to understand and read (plain English)
- reflect our school's Catholic values
- sound human not bureaucratic
- in a style appropriate for the target audience (keep the reader in mind)
- as concise as possible
Try to maintain a semi-casual tone, without using:
- slang (eg loads, stinking)
- shortened words (eg info, reg groups)
- clichés (going forward, at this moment in time, top-notch, first-class, cutting edge, at the end of the day, raise the bar, today’s modern society)
Try to keep sentences short – usually not more than 25 words long.
- Type & Typography, Phil Baines, 2005, p190–200
- Italics, The Economist style guide
- The Ellipsis, the Capital Community College Foundation Guide to Grammar and Writing
- Writing for the Web, The University of York Communications and Marketing
- Getting the Hang of Hanging Punctuation, Tutsplus.com
- Running headers and footers, Sagehill.net
- Altar and alter, Ginger Spelling Book, confusing words index
- Aural and Oral, about.com grammar
- Leeds University Style Guide
- Common Misspellings, Oxford Dictionaries
- Plain English Campaign
- The English Style Book - A Guide to the Writing of Scholarly English
- Common Errors in English Usage by Paul Brians
- Twitter Brand Portal
- New Jerusalem Bible online [CATHOLIC.ORG]