Pupils at a primary school in Essex are being given elocution lessons in a bid to improve their spelling and grammar. The lessons teach the pupils to speak ‘properly’ and use ‘posh voices’ in their heads, in the hope this will transfer to their writing skills.
Cherry Tree Primary School in Basildon, Essex has become one of the first in the country to offer its pupils elocution lessons. According to the teachers there, the 7 to 11-year-olds have shown great progress in their writing since the lessons were introduced a year ago.
“This is not about being ashamed of the Essex accent. I have an Essex accent ad there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s about helping the children to speak properly so that they can improve their reading and writing,” said Teri Chudleigh, the school’s literacy co-ordinator.
Before lessons took place, Teri said the children were misspelling words because they wrote them down in the way they heard them. “We had lots of youngsters writing ‘sbort’ instead of ‘sport’ and ‘wellw’ instead of ‘well’,” explained Teri.
As part of the lessons, the children run through speech exercises and are encouraged to use ‘posh voices’.
“The feedback we’ve had from parents has been very positive. We’ve had them tell us their children are going home and correcting them on their speech!” Teri added.
Despite the good feedback, Billie Faiers from the reality TV show The Only Way is Essex disapproves with the lessons.
“I think it is ridiculous that kids so young are being forced to act a certain way. Both me and my sister have never had any sort of elocution lessons and it did not do us any harm,” said Billie.
“I worked at a recruitment agency before TOWIE and my sister worked in a bank and neither of us had any problems with our regional accent,” Billie added.