In school, oracy is a powerful tool for learning; by teaching students to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. It is also a route to social mobility, empowering all students, not just some, to find their voice to succeed in school and life. 
Why does a high-quality oracy education matter?

Spoken language skills are one of the strongest predictors of a child’s future life chances but too many children are not given the opportunity to develop these crucial skills.

On entry to school, disadvantaged children’s spoken language development is significantly lower than their more advantaged peers

These gaps grow as children move through school. Widening from just a few months aged six, to five years’ difference by the age of 14.

On leaving school, children with poor verbal communication skills are less likely to find employment and more likely to suffer from mental health difficulties.

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What can a high-quality oracy education achieve?

Evidence shows that a high-quality education can:

  • Improve academic outcomes, developing learners who can think critically, reason together and have the vocabulary to express their knowledge and understanding.
  • Improves literacy development.  The EEF literacy reports show that through structured classroom talk students, and particularly pupil premium students, literacy outcomes improve. 
  • Increase confidence and wellbeing, empowering students with the belief that their voice has value, developing the ability to articulate thoughts so others will listen. 
  • Equip students to thrive in life beyond school helping them to progress, access employment and engage in civic life. Successive employer surveys and reports from industry bodies such as the CBI, CIPD and IoD have highlighted the value businesses place on employees’ communication skills.
  • Narrows gaps enabling disadvantaged students to fulfil their potential and shrink the language gap between them and more advantaged peers. 
How can you teach oracy and achieve a high-qualty oracy education for your students?

Through a high quality oracy education students learn through talk and to talk. This is when they develop and deepen their subject knowledge and understanding through talk in the classroom, which has been planned, designed, modelled, scaffolded and structured to enable them to learn the skills needed to talk effectively.

How you can teach oracy and measure progress

The deliberate, explicit and systematic teaching of oracy across phases and throughout the curriculum will support children and young people to make progress in the four strands of oracy outlined in the Oracy Framework. 

The Oracy Framework can be used as a basis of formative assessment, enabling you to gauge what your students have or have not yet grasped and informing you what to teach next. 

You can read more about approaches to assessment in our book Transform Teaching and Learning through Talk and in the Cambridge Oracy Assessment Toolkit developed as part of our joint Education Endowment Fund pilot (2015). 

How you can achieve a high-quality oracy education

Oracy is not a programme to be completed one year and gone the next, or an extracurricular endeavour for a select few, but rather an essential facet of an effective, empowering and expansive education. 

Our Voice 21 Oracy Benchmarks provide a framework to identify, guide and empower teachers who are developing and refining their oracy practice, whether within their own classroom or as part of a school-wide approach.

What does a high quality oracy education look like?

We are proud to work with hundreds of schools and thousands of teachers each year committed to ensuring that they provide a high quality oracy education for their students. 

Below are some examples of what this looks like in practice, and how they are working to achieve a high-quality oracy education. 

"I have seen a growth in students overall"

Oracy at Madani Schools Federation

“The beauty of oracy for us was that it not only refined the curriculum and link to achievement and linked to the rounded and groundedness of students, but also links to the curriculum pedagogy of our staff.”

"Oracy helps me to learn because it helps me feel more confident"

Oracy at The Oaks Primary School

“We were seeing very early on, that children in our baseline group were seeing improvements in their maths reasoning skills.”

"Who is talking and how coherent is that talk?"

Oracy at Torriano Primary School

“We talk about the children having a right to be heard, but who is talking? We can focus on vocabulary, but let’s think about talking in class. Who is talking and how coherent is that talk?”

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