Oracy at Pakefield Primary School.
We recognise the extreme importance of being able to talk well and learn through talk. Oracy, is a vital part of the Curriculum at Pakefield and we are working in partnership with Oracy Cambridge, from Cambridge University. Together, along with our Active Learning Trust family, we have embarked on a project to develop and refine these crucial skills. Oracy is integral to our 2019-2020 School Development Plan and is very much a work in progress and not the finished product.
What is Oracy?
‘Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language.’ (Voice21). At Pakefield, we are teaching our children to be confident, articulate speakers and effective listeners; these two skills are fundamental to all we do now and in the children’s lives when they leave Pakefield.
Why do we have a focus on Oracy?
Leaders analysed a range of information, including internal assessment, gaps in subject knowledge and end of key stage data. It highlighted that children needed additional opportunities to learn to talk and learn through talk. In addition, research (Millard and Menzies, State of Speaking) shows almost half of British employers, reported that young people enter the work place with inadequate communication, presentation and interpersonal skills that are needed to thrive in the work place.
Our key Actions for 2019 – 2020
- To improve vocabulary development across the school using vocabulary training;
- To implement vocabulary teaching across the curriculum;
- To identify next steps to support early year’s children and their vocabulary development.
What is the intended impact?
This project is a long term, ongoing project and not one that will complete by the end of this academic year. We envisage that children will become confident and effective communicators and be able to use these skills in all areas of the curriculum and later in life. This will underpin the children’s ability to make a positive contribution and global citizens.
How are we teaching Oracy at Pakefield?
We have a multi-layered approach to develop Oracy and are using the 4 domains set out by Voice 21; physical, linguistic, cognitive and social and emotional. During the first year of our project, we are particularly focusing on posture, vocabulary, reasoning and collaboration. In the early years, a high focus is given to the physical development of speech and positive talk. It essential that all domains are developed effectively as they progress through our school. Teachers plan regular and purposeful opportunities which enable children to take part in exploratory talk and listen carefully to one another. Subject-specific language is used across all areas of the curriculum to support children's development. Teachers and adults in school model effective talk and listening skills. Whilst higher order (tier 3) vocabulary is shared and taught throughout the school.
Voice 21, Oracy Domains.
Opportunities that we are currently experimenting with are:
- Weekly word of the week being taught and shared with families;
- Year 5 and 6 debating club;
- Oracy circles that are used in assemblies to promote discussion and reasoning;
- Providing weekly Oracy homework;
- Weekly and daily opportunities for all children to discuss a current news issue;
- Daily opportunities for talk buddies and talking partners;
- Rich language opportunities through Talk 4 Writing and range of school councils;
- Providing staff with training and the development of subject knowledge and research.
For further information, please take a look at our partners at the University of Cambridge.