A SCHOOL headteacher has urged pupils to correct their sloppy language if they want them to find a good job later in life.
Parents with children at Sacred Heart Primary School, in Middlesbrough, were sent a letter by Carol Walker asking them to encourage their children to stop using phrases such as “it’s nowt” and “gizit ere”.
The letter gives advice about pronunciation and grammar and provides details of several phrases which are often used in class, but need correcting – and many will be familiar to Teessiders.
There is an emphasis on grammatical accuracy among the suggestions – for example, the correct use of “your” and “you’re”.
But others include Teesside pronunciation such as “shert” and “werk” instead of “shirt” and “work”.
“I done that” and “I seen that” are also listed as phrases to avoid and pupils are urged not to pronounce “three fifteen” as “free fifteen”.
The letter states that “yous” should not be used because the “word you is never a plural”.
The letter gives 11 incorrect phrases in a left-hand column and the correct version of each phrase in the right-hand column.
Mrs Walker, who was born in Stockton and has been headteacher at Sacred Heart for 12 years, said the aim was not to wipe out the Teesside accent, but to teach children standard English. She said: “I believe that basic communication skills are essential for life.
“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 where tense, subject and verb agree.
“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.”
Parent Cheryl Fortune, 35, a school escort for Middlesbrough Council, said: “When I saw the letter I was a bit shocked. I thought, my kids are only eight and five, so it is a bit extreme.
“If I am honest though my eldest son said, ‘yeah’ last night and my youngest said, ‘it’s yes’, so he corrected him.
“I can understand why the school has done it, to encourage people to speak properly.”
Parent Chris Allinson, 31, had not 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 incorrectly. I want her to get the best start in life.”