It’s time to give oracy the status it deserves

Beccy Earnshaw, CEO, Voice 21 shares our support for the recommendations in the final report from the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group Inquiry, Speak for Change.

Oracy education has been undervalued and overlooked for too long and today’s publication of the findings from the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Inquiry represents a golden opportunity to change this. 

We fully support the APPG’s vision for increasing the status of oracy in education, improving understanding of how children and young people can develop effective speaking and listening skills and providing schools and teachers with the resources, support and training their need to  ensure that all children and young people have access to a high quality oracy education.

The report highlights the many benefits of oracy education and the detrimental impacts of a lack of provision for those that need it most.  The stark evidence presented on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on spoken language serves to strengthen the need to act now. Whilst the fantastic case studies from schools across the UK illuminate the difference a sustained and comprehensive focus on oracy education can make to the lives of children and young people. 

As with our own research, the report finds that teachers recognise the importance of oracy but often face barriers in giving it the attention it deserves. We therefore particularly welcome the APPG’s calls for greater investment in teacher development for oracy and new non-statutory guidance from the Department for Education.

With all the evidence, research, polling and case studies, we believe this report marks a turning point for oracy education. We hope that the Government and other agencies will listen to the evidence and findings of the APPG and take the steps recommended in the report. 

We will continue to work with schools nationally to amplify the impact of a high quality oracy education, and ensure that it becomes an expectation for all students’ education, not just for a privileged few.

A executive summary is available here, and a full list of all written evidence submitted (including Voice 21’s) and witnesses for oral evidence sessions can be found on the Oracy APPG website:

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