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English - Speaking and Listening

Speaking and Listening (Oracy) at Nine Acres Primary School


At Nine Acres, our values include wanting the children to be articulate and persuasive. As such, oracy is a central, essential part to our curriculum.  In order to encourage the children to think and write, opportunities to practise purposeful talk are built into all aspects of our curriculum from the first day that new starters join our community.  We know that oracy develops the children’s confidence, their ability to make links, their articulacy and their ability to learn.  We understand that providing a high-quality oracy education empowers our students, regardless of their background to find their voice which will not only support success in school but also throughout their lives. We aim to encourage fluent speakers, who are confident to communicate, debate and present in a wide range of situations.

What does Oracy look like at our school?

Our pupils participate in a wide range of oracy activities which help them to develop confidence in spoken language. Some examples are:

  •   Partner talk
  •   Group discussion
  •   Collaborative work and problem solving
  •   Debate – we have a weekly debate as a school as well as debates being at the heart of our wider curriculum
  •   Role play
  •   Drama including our drama club
  •   Presentations
  •   Learning songs and rhymes off by heart

There are further opportunities for pupils to develop their oracy skills outside of the curriculum. This is achieved through pupil voice groups, class assemblies, visiting speakers, topic events and participation in local events.  No time is lost as even at break times, we ensure that interactions are high quality and any playground disagreements are carefully managed to support independent conflict resolution.  Teachers model oracy through our daily story time at the end of the day and we ensure that our children get out to see professional performances at the theatre as regularly as possible as well as opportunities to meet authors who we invite into school.

The national curriculum for Oracy:

The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.

  •   Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills.
  •   Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others, and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.
  •   Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
  •   All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role.
  •   They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.

Support for children’s speech and language:

Children who need support with their speech are identified on joining the school and bespoke support packages are put in place alongside Hampshire’s speech service.  We follow the Elklan model for speech and have an Elklan trained specialist who leads staff training and oversees speech programmes in school.  We also use SALDA ‘Blank Levels’ to support the children’s ability to respond to questioning and this also supports the development of general language and vocabulary as well as the children’s skills in comprehension, reasoning, inference, prediction and problem solving.

Oracy across the curriculum:

Our curriculum is designed with Oracy at its heart.

Maths- During maths lessons, children have the opportunity to discuss their learning, knowledge and reasoning. Maths talk is key to learning and our debate question stems are used to support the ‘Point, Evidence and Explanation’ structure we use for reasoning.

Writing- In English lessons, our children engage with talk for writing to develop vocabulary and presentational talk.  Drama activities are embedded throughout the learning journey from planning to presentation.

Reading- In book club, the children have to explain and provide evidence for their answers based on a text. Texts are discussed during reading lessons and vocabulary and comprehension are explicitly taught.

History and Geography – children are encouraged to speak as historians and geographers through our skill based core curriculum.  Our loops learning model ensures that the learning is brought to a level that the children can relate to on a local level and the use of a big questions allows the children to articulate their thinking along the learning journey.

Computing- Across the school, children are given opportunities in ICT to present what they have learnt in computing.  Pupil voice is collected through our interactive floor books and the children explain to their peers how to use the technology.

PE- Children actively engage with peer feedback and are encouraged to evaluate their skill progression and that of others after each lesson. Children articulate the rules for a game including self-referring in upper key stage two and they are encouraged to collaborate and communicate ideas for tactics.

Science- During these lessons, the children are encouraged to question their own predictions and results of experiments. The national curriculum for science reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically.  The children are taught vocabulary and the ability to articulate scientific concepts clearly and precisely.

RE and World Views- Each RE concept follows the cycle of ‘communicate, apply, enquire, contextualise and evaluate’ with a question leading discussions at each stage. Children are shown how to listen with respect to the views of others and regular debates ensure that every student has a voice.

Languages – As a school we study German and Latin and throughout these lessons, as a key part of the curriculum, children’s ability to speak in a foreign language is also developed.

EYFS is the start of our pupils’ oracy journey through school. Staff encourage oracy from an early age through talking stories, retelling stories, scaffolding conversations during free choice time and circle time class discussions and have recently attended training on supporting quality interactions. Any barriers to oracy are spotted and acted upon rapidly and interventions to assist with speech are put in place. Communication in Early Years is a focus learning area as it enables children to meet other milestones at the end of the foundation stage.

Pupil voice-  Our Pupil Leadership Team regularly attend meetings to listen, respect and act upon the views of our children. Our children also have opportunities to discuss their learning with curriculum leaders through pupil voice sessions.

Feedback - Oracy is at the heart of feedback and assessment for learning enabling children to discuss their work and any misconceptions. Our teachers challenge the  children through probing questions about their learning.