A truly brave yet worthwhile initiative:
Parents have been sent letters from a school urging them to stop their children using phrases such as ‘it’s nowt’ and ‘gizit ere’.
Sacred Heart Primary School, a Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided school, warned against ‘problem’ phrases and criticised children using pronunciations, such as ‘free’ and ‘butta’ instead of ‘three’ and ‘butter’.
The letter spells out 11 ‘incorrect’ phrases. ‘I done that’ and ‘I seen that’ were blacklisted, and parents were reminded that ‘yous’ should not be permitted because ‘you is never a plural’.
Carol Walker, Sacred Heart’s headteacher, defended the letter, saying: ‘We would like to equip our children to go into the world of work and not be disadvantaged.
‘We need the children to know there is a difference between dialect, accent and standard English.
‘The literacy framework asks children to write in standard English.
‘I am not asking the children to change their dialect or accent but I don’t want them to enter the world of work without knowing about standard English.’
Carol Walker, the headteacher at Sacred Heart, who is focusing on her pupils’ competitiveness in the workplace
Another parent, engineer Chris Allinson, 31, hadn’t seen the letter but thought it was a good idea.
He said: ‘I try to correct my daughter Jasmine’s speech if she says things wrongly. I want her to get the best start in life.’
Sacred Heart is not the only school where accent is an issue.
Essex school children at the Cherry Tree Primary School in Basildon are being offered elocution lessons after teachers complained that the accent was affecting their grammar and spelling.
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