Oracy, learning and inequality in primary schools

In this blog, Impact and Senior Research Lead, Amanda Moorghen, shares her reflections from the Oracy, Learning and Inequality panel at the Oracy Imperative Conference 2022.

In this blog, Impact and Senior Research Lead, Amanda Moorghen, shares her reflections from the Oracy, Learning and Inequality panel at the Oracy Imperative Conference 2022.

The Oracy Imperative conference brought together teachers and experts to explore how teaching oracy skills can tackle educational inequality, in practical sessions demonstrating how doing so improves students’ learning, confidence, vocabulary development, wellbeing, employability and much more. We heard from three UK primary teachers in the Oracy, Learning and Inequality panel. Many speakers at the panel had unpacked the research evidence into how oracy can level the playing field for students – and this panel put that all into a practical context.

In each school, oracy was integrated into their everyday. Each was an exemplification of being very intentional about designing Teaching & Learning in a way that made the most of every opportunity for talk, for all students. Oracy wasn’t treated as an add-on to cram into a busy lesson, or as an extra-curricular option for enthusiastic students only. This is so important because we know that ‘opt-in’ activities don’t always reach the students who need them most.

Vicky Thorpe, from South Lake Primary School, shared an example of using oracy in ‘reading trios’, structuring and scaffolding exploratory talk for her students. Previously, she’d noticed too many students were passive learners – oracy gave her a window into what they were thinking, allowing her to ensure everyone was able to meaningfully participate in rich discussions to enhance their learning.

Callum Wooler, from South Malling Primary School, shared a scheme of work culminating in every student running for election (to a variety of posts). This scheme explicitly taught students the purpose of elections, and the oracy skills they needed to take part (and even included a visit from an MP!). It replaced a more traditional ‘opt-in’ student council model, and Callum saw an immediate benefit in terms of widening participation in this opportunity.

Ruth Thompson, from Whitley Park Primary School and Nursery offered a leadership perspective. The impact of oracy at her school is already showing in the data, with 82% of students eligible for pupil premium meeting their Speaking Early Learning Goal, compared to 75% of their peers (in both cases, also showing an uplift compared to pre-pandemic, pre-oracy cohorts).

It’s always inspiring to hear from our schools, and with the audience’s warm response and busy note-taking, I can’t wait to find out what they took back to try in their schools. We look forward to showcasing what our Voice 21 Oracy Schools have been working on at The Great Oracy Exhibition on 1st July 2022 in Birmingham!

Share This

Recent news

Back to news

© 2020 Voice 21. Voice 21 is a registered charity in England and Wales. Charity number 1152672 | Company no. 08165798