Voice 21 and SHINE celebrate 'Voice Liverpool' success

“In our school we don’t get nervous because we know we’ve got each other to help out.” - A primary school student in Liverpool

Rachel Dove is an Oracy Consultant who fronted 'Voice Liverpool'.

For three years and in partnership with Shine, Voice 21 has been working closely with schools across Liverpool, helping develop and nurture the first city wide initiative of its kind: Voice Liverpool, to develop the speaking and listening skills, confidence and wellbeing of primary and secondary students across the city. Over this period we have worked with over 70 schools in Liverpool. Now, as the project draws to a close, we are very proud of the impact we have made and the ways in which teachers have embedded oracy approaches within their schools.

 A teacher at Longmoor, Sarah Evans, said: 

“The impact of the oracy project has been fantastic and there have been so many success stories. It really has supported inclusion for all pupils and has given the children the tools they need to make a real and impactful difference to not just their academic achievement but to their lives. Pupils have grown in a whole range of social, emotional, interpersonal skills, including self-confidence, self- awareness, resilience, and empathy.”

“Overwhelmingly, all of our teachers agree that the most positive impact was on pupils’ confidence to speak up and believe in themselves.”

 Oracy Consultant at Voice 21 and local Rachel Dove spearheaded much of the effort in Liverpool for Voice 21.  She stated:

“It was a genuine privilege to give back to the city that has ‘fed’ me so well in both my professional and personal life! Working with schools that are literally around the corner, schools that are familiar to me by reputation as well as by name, and latterly schools that I actually taught in, has only served to emphasise the passion and drive of teachers and leaders across the city that I already knew existed. They do all that they can to give children and young people the very best starts in life, often in incredibly challenging environments, and I have felt immense pride in playing a part in that.”

Kathleen Mcbride, an Oracy Consultant at Voice 21, worked closely with Longmoor Community Primary School, and was struck by their willingness to adopt a citywide approach to oracy networking, hosting schools on site and sharing resources, establishing themselves alongside Palmerston School, Archbishop Blanch High School and King’s Leadership Academy Hawthorne as a hub school of best practice.

Testimonies from children who have benefited from the Voice Liverpool initiative serves only to cement these observations.

Seven year old Molly said that: “Standing in front of the class and showing everyone what I know now and sharing the knowledge I have learnt made me extremely proud.” 

Another student of nine years said: “Everybody has a voice and talking gives us democracy in our classroom.” 

A third student added: “In our school we don’t get nervous because we know we’ve got each other to help out.”

Our CEO at Voice 21, Beccy Earnshaw, was blown away by the response to the programme, especially given the challenges schools have faced over the period:

“Throughout the three years we’ve been struck by the commitment of individual teachers and school leaders, and how their commitment to transforming children’s learning and life chances through talk has remained constant,” she said.

“If anything, the pandemic has highlighted the vital importance of oracy in setting children up for success in school and in life beyond.

“This focus on impact – on using oracy to support children’s confidence and wellbeing, their engagement in learning and their attainment, their relationships and employability – takes us back to our original plans and ambitions.”

Helen Rafferty, the CEO of our partners in Voice Liverpool, Shine, sought to echo such congratulations:

“Voice Liverpool has been a transformative programme that we’re very proud to have supported, and it’s been wonderful to see the collaboration between schools and the engagement and commitment of the teachers. We’re excited by the prospect of so many Liverpool children experiencing the benefits of an oracy-rich education and the long-term impact on how schools work with their students across the region.”


Interested in running a similar citywide initiative where you’re based? Send us an email at hello@voice21.org.

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