Teesside Accents Targeted By School Letter

6 February 2013, 05:20 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Parents at a primary school in Middlesbrough have been sent a letter from the head teacher advising them on correcting their children's Teesside accents.

Pupils at Sacred Heart Primary School have been sent home with a list of 11 words or phrases which can cause problems with grammar or pronunciation.

While some can trip up any child - such as the difference between "your'' and "you're'' - others are particular to the region.

Head teacher Carol Walker has placed the word "Yous'' firmly in detention, explaining "the word you is NEVER a plural'', and she has asked parents to pick up on the pronunciation of work (not "werk'') and shirt (not "shert'').

Mrs Walker, who was born in nearby Stockton and has been head at the urban primary for 12 years, stressed the aim was not to wipe out the Teesside accent but to teach children standard English.

She wanted pupils to avoid being at a disadvantage in later life, especially in the jobs market, where those who cannot communicate clearly can struggle.

To back up efforts at school, she decided to write to parents asking for their help at home, and the response has been "really positive''.

"We have not had any negative reaction at all.

It's about knowing when it is appropriate to use one voice rather than another.

I am not asking children to deny where they come from, I am saying to them there are certain situations where they need to be able to use standard English.''

The Full Letter Sent In By Parent Richard Mason: