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Literacy & Oracy

We recognise that ensuring that learners are literate and numerate is fundamental in enabling them to flourish, thrive and access the next stage of their education, employment or training. The development of learner language and Oracy is a key part of our curriculum as we understand how vital it is for our learners to build confidence in communication skills not only for their time in school but also to prepare them for working life and for making a difference in society.

Students have opportunities to discuss, challenge and build on other points of view and to develop their formality of language to ensure they have the confidence to speak to different audiences. Tier two and Tier three vocabulary is a key part of the curriculum planning which is undertaken by our Faculty Directors and Subject Leaders.

Oracy across the Curriculum
Students will be taught sophisticated skills of effective speaking and listening to enable them to present, debate and perform in a range of contexts, exploiting language to suit a range of audiences and purposes.

Students will demonstrate sensitivity when listening to others, building on others’ views or showing empathy as appropriate.

Academic focus
Opportunities to improve fluency, confidence, use expansive vocabulary as well as adopt active listening skills will be available in every subject area. We recognise that oracy in the classroom should be seen, by both teacher and student, as a valuable activity; access to more demanding concepts is made possible through structured talk opportunities.

Teachers model exceptional oracy in all lessons in order to highlight the specificity and sophistication required in both their subject area and the wider world. Writing should be preceded by and supported by talk, in order that students may more fully realise their intentions.

Oracy can play this role as a catalyst with collaborative learning activities set in place; these activities are also seen as a key strategy to support the bilingual early learners of English and those with speech, language and communication difficulties, to engage in exploring subject specific concepts, texts and ideas.

Enrichment of oracy
Within our community, exceptional oracy skills are highly regarded and rewarded. Students are able to use a range of platforms to ensure their voices are heard and to provide opportunities that prepare them for life outside education.

Debate Mate is also utilised as an intervention for students with attachment and social, emotional and mental health needs, allowing them to grow in confidence and independence through the use of their own voice. We show all our students that their voice is valued and teach them how to express themselves in a way that is suitable for a variety of audiences and purposes.

Creative Education Trust Debate Prize
Each year, students from Year 9 are given the opportunity to take part in a debate competition with other schools in the Trust. Students can volunteer to be part of the team, with heats taking place to secure places. Students then have the opportunity to have training sessions with a barrister in preparation for their heats before moving on to the event final in London!

Here are some examples of activities that are used to develop oracy in our school:

  • Setting ground rules for speaking and listening in class, such as putting your hand up before speaking, waiting to be chosen, and not interrupting each other.
  • Presentations on a specified subject, or a subject of their own choosing. These could be individual presentations or in pairs or small groups, in front of their class or the whole school in assembly. At the lower end of the school, this is often ‘show and tell,’ while older pupils might make a topic-based presentation.
  • Discussions as a pair, small group or whole class, for example about religious beliefs, story plots, or predicting the outcomes of experiments.
  • Hot seating: a drama technique where one child sits in the ‘hot seat,’ and the other children ask them questions to answer in character.
  • Exploring a text through performance – not just re-enacting what actually happens in the book, but also acting out what characters might do or say in a particular situation.
  • Structured debates, with one group of pupils for and another against a certain topic or question, such as, ‘Is it right to bully a bully?’
  • Putting on class assemblies attended by the rest of the school and often parents.
  • School council meetings, where council members collect questions and concerns from other pupils and present them to their fellow councillors and teachers.
  • Group work, where communication and listening to each other are essential.
  • Older children being play leaders for younger children at breaktimes, explaining the rules of a game and making sure everyone plays correctly and fairly. This encourages oracy skills like expressing opinions, turn-taking and respecting others’ views.