Oracy at Torriano Primary School

We caught up with Alice Kennedy, Oracy Lead at Torriano Primary School and part of our Oracy Leaders Programme 2017-2018. She shares her reflections on the programme and how she’s excited by being part of an innovative cohort of future leaders.


Why did you decide to apply to the programme?

Torriano has a Language Resource Base for children with Developmental Language Disorder and has developed universal provision based on the specialist approaches developed there. Our research into vocabulary development as part of the universal provision was shared at the Camden Oracy conference and the Voice 21 Speaking Summit 2017.

We were inspired by these experiences and collaborations to identify improved pedagogy and curriculum development in Oracy as a whole school focus. The course was integral to success of these objectives and offered the combination of practical application and exposure to current academic theory and research in this area. It also offered the opportunity to access a National network, innovating in a fast developing field in education. Torriano is a very diverse school culturally and socioeconomically and we feel strongly that developing the oracy skills of our children, embracing their right to heard, is a catalyst for improved learning and outcomes for all.

How has the programme supported you to lead oracy at your school?

The strength of the course has developed expertise so that I’m equipped and confident enough to share my learning and inspire a range of different stakeholders across the school and within the Voice Camden Oracy hub. For example developing accountability tools to plan and evaluate the impact of the programme, delivering training and developing impact projects within school and across the Camden Oracy hub. This included showcasing teaching and supporting other support to develop their pedagogy. It has really inspiring to see the rapid impact on both pupil and teacher skill, engagement and confidence.

What has been the impact of the programme at your school?

The impact has been significant. There has been a sea-change in the value of oracy and time dedicated to it in the curriculum. The course has been a really important part of this, connecting the school and key leaders to expert training which will enable leadership to plan over time the successful journey to embedding a culture of oracy. I have had the opportunity to influence appraisal and galvanise governors to engage and support this process.

What have you enjoyed most about the programme?

The mix of practical and academic support. It has been incredible to have such a high level of support from my mentor. I am very excited by the innovative ethos and feel supported and encouraged to take risks and be part of this cohort of future leaders. Together we have developed a lens through which we can lead change nationally. This feels very special.

What have been the most useful aspects of the programme?

Communication has been excellent, particularly the Iris platform with resources and support readily available, which has invaluable in implementing what I have learnt in the course. The input has been wide ranging and influential; for example from within and beyond the education sector such as business psychologists. This has been fascinating and I will bring back this openness and momentum for change to my colleagues in school.

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To hear more from our Oracy Leaders join us at our Speaking Summit Friday 6 July at Regent High School, London. Tickets still available here.

Applications for our Oracy Leaders Programme 2019/2020 will open in Spring Term 2019.

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Recent impact

Research

Chartered College’s summary of the importance of oracy

An article in the Chartered College of Teaching’s journal ‘Impact’ demonstrates how oracy is linked to cognitive, personal and social gains for young people, as well as greater civic engagement and empowerment. Read the evidence here.

Research

EEF on oral language interventions

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) shows that oral language interventions have a ‘positive impact’ on learning at a very low cost. Find out more about the evidence here.

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