Our Oracy Project and how it began.

In March 2022 our school started its journey into developing Oracy across the curriculum.

We began by visiting Harbertonford CE Primary School, one of our sister schools, within The Link Academy Trust, learning about the steps which they have taken in developing oracy across the school.

We also carried out research into the approach being taken by the Voice 21 project. Voice 21 is the UK’s oracy education charity which has been created to improve the life chances of all children, “through talk so that all children can use their voice for success in school and in life.”  Our research has shown that oracy supports and encourages children’s self- esteem, academic outcomes, civic engagement, social mobility, cognitive ability and well- being.

At Ilsington we aim to help all of our children to find and develop their own voice in school and enable them to articulate their own thoughts effectively.

Our Oracy curriculum is underpinned by the Oracy Framework created by Voice 21. The Oracy framework uses four vital strands; physical, linguistic, cognitive and social and emotional.

A high- quality Oracy education enables students to learn through talk and to learn to talk. The use of carefully planned, modelled and scaffolded talk in the classroom heightens subject knowledge and understanding for our learners.

Our teaching of oracy, blends naturally with the school’s visible learning approach as described by JM Hattie in Visible Learning and Guy Claxton’s book Powering up children. It also links to the drive by the government document Keeping Children Children Safe in Education 2022(KCSIE 2022), which refers to the need for adults to listen to children and for their voices to be heard in schools.                                                                  



Our Oracy project began with the introduction of a “Word of the week”. The word of the week and its meaning/s are shared, discussed, celebrated and explored across the school from preschool to year 6. Overtime, the whole school community will have chance to suggest the weekly word. Each week it is   shared with families and children in advance, via our weekly SWAY newsletter.

We have also introduced regular Circle time assemblies including both whole school and smaller groups which are run with all participants sitting in a circle, adults and children together. Time is spent discussing ideas and taking the children’s ideas, views and suggestions. Offering the children the opportunity to see democracy in action and empowering them as leaders within their school. Children have been able to give their own insight into how their learning environment is working for them and what could be improved. They have decided on how KS2 playtimes are to be run when not on the field They have also chosen how they want to support child refugees in the Ukraine.

At the same time staff have begun developing children’s confidence in sharing their understanding of their learning through discussions and debates in classes and have started to record these using SWAY.

Initially we introduced some simple stem sentences to use across the school , such as:  following on  from,,, building on to what  X said…  As we move forwards we will be differentiating the question stems used to better support development across year groups. (Drawing on work carried out by Filton Primary in Bristol).

We will also be developing the children’s understanding of the different roles that participants can take during a discussion and thinking about how individuals might build, clarify, probe, instigate, clarify and summarise during their discussion.

Children are taught how to reference what has been said by the previous speaker and to build on what has already been said. They give their viewpoint in a respectful but confident way. Initially they may use set starter sentence stems such as : following on from, I disagree with, I agree with, etc.
This clip shows how the children are developing their confidence as speakers and their ability to share their viewpoint constructively.