Basildon schools use elocution to help pupils' spelling

Cherry Tree Primary School says elocution lessons are aimed at improving spelling and confidence

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Pupils at an Essex primary school are receiving elocution lessons - to help improve their spelling.

Staff at Cherry Tree Primary School in Basildon said some children were writing words according to how they pronounced them.

They say the lessons are not about helping them to lose their accents.

Literacy co-ordinator Terri Chudleigh said: "If you are saying 'we was' instead of 'we were' then that's what you're going to write."

Mrs Chudleigh said the lessons, from a private elocution teacher, had already led to an improvement in the children's writing skills.

She said: "I thought we needed to introduce something that would give them a more accurate sounding of the word in their head so they could spell it correctly.

"I'm from Essex and am very proud of my accent.

"But their spelling is now much more accurate, their grammar is much more accurate and they're more confident in their public speaking."

Francesca Gordon-Smith, who runs sessions with pupils, said: "The idea is that when they're writing they have their 'elocution voice' in their heads to avoid mistakes like an 'f' at the beginning of 'thought'."

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