In all school correspondences my daughter and all other students are being addressed as "Ward", "your Ward", e.g

A parent survey form has been sent through your Ward. Please fill.

Is the school correct in doing so? My daughter is biological and we are parents and not guardians. Is this the correct academic way?

  • 4
    It's not wrong but it does seem a bit sterile. Student seems like an appropriate word that still covers all bases. What is wrong is the capitalization of ward. As a simple noun, it requires no capitalization in your sentences. It's also worth commenting on the fact they they apparently went to great lengths finding the word ward but then used the word parent in parent survey. By rights, they should have used guardian survey.
    – Jim
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 6:17
  • @Jim: In the UK, schools tend to use the word "parent" all the time when they ought to use "guardian". For example, parent's evening and parental permission. Maybe they should change, but my guess is that most guardians don't mind enough to complain, so long as they are technically and legally (if not lexically) treated the same.
    – Matt
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 6:54
  • 2
    To me this seems like an (inelegant) attempt to use an all-encompassing term.
    – Ingmar
    Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 8:42
  • 1
    A little Googling suggests that this is a fairly common usage on the websites of Indian primary and secondary schools. It usually appears in a context of an English even further removed from the ordinary academic standard than the English found on the websites of most US primary and secondary schools. Commented Dec 14, 2013 at 12:37
  • 3
    @Matt This is true in the US as well. I think what Jim was pointing out is that it's odd that they take such care to use ward instead of child, but then use parent instead of guardian (the pairs don't match).
    – WendiKidd
    Commented Dec 19, 2013 at 23:42

1 Answer 1


Officially every minor or other person without legal capacity must have a guardian, and in said relation remains a ward of that guardian. Now, the guardian may a biological parent, adoptive parent, a caretaker of institution where the person remains, or any other such entity. This is the legal position. It's extremely dry but if the school wants to remain completely proper e.g. in relation to orphans who have only legal caretakers, but no parents, they might try to use the phrase guardian, and respectively ward. Of course if they use parent's ward, they are simply making a mess of it, trying and failing to sound professional.

  • It might help if you clarified where this was the legal position. Laws vary quite a lot around the world so there is really no such thing as "the" legal position. Commented Mar 2 at 11:09

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