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Oracy/ Spoken Language

Progression of Skills for Oracy/Spoken Language


At Tutshill C of E Primary School, we recognise how vital spoken language skills are for children and we want to equip them with the tools they need to be heard, not just in school, but in their future career and life. Our classrooms are rich in talk, from effective questioning to constructive peer discussions and teachers use talk skillfully to develop and encourage critical thinking.  There is a clear understanding in school of how talk aids teaching, analysis and higher order metacognition.   This links with our ABCDE model of learning which allows the children to use skills in oracy to understand how they learn and how to improve learning (metacognition). The ability to speak eloquently, articulate ideas and thoughts, collaborate with peers and have the confidence to express views (Article 12) are all vital life skills that support success in learning and life in general.  By embedding oracy in all aspects of the school’s culture and weaving it through the curriculum, children are able to respond to high expectations and explicit teaching and modelling of speaking and listening. Classrooms buzz with the sounds of purposeful talk, from confident speeches in KS2 to children learning how to turn take in EYFS using the language of compromise and negotiation. 

Our intent clearly reflects research findings that strong oracy skills lead to higher order thinking and deeper understanding. 

We do this by enabling children to:

  • speak with confidence, clarity and eloquence;
  • engage in dialogue, developing classroom contributions and questioning
  • express their opinions, articulate feelings and listen to and respond appropriately in a range of situations;
  • recognise the importance of listening in conjunction with speaking,
  • be confident in the value of their own opinions and to be able to express and justify them to others;
  • adapt their use of language for a range of different purposes and audiences,
  • sustain a logical argument, question, reason and respond to others appropriately;
  • concentrate, interpret and respond appropriately to a wide range of immersive experiences;
  • be open-minded, to respect and value the contribution of others and to take account of their views;
  • celebrate the diversity of languages, dialects and accents in the school and appreciate the experience and value the contributions of children with a wide variety of linguistic abilities
  • use oracy to enable deeper understanding of the curriculum and develop critical thinking
  • use discussion in order to learn; be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas (metacognition) 
  • Speak audibly and confidently before an audience (for example when leading class and whole-school worship; when performing in school plays)
  • share their learning in an engaging, informative way through presentations, recitals, drama, poetry and debate.


Approaches to teaching and learning encourage pupils to voice their ideas in small group and class discussions, as we recognise that sharing and explaining concepts with peers enhances learning. Staff model the use of higher level vocabulary within their speech and expanding children’s vocabulary is a key focus from EYFS. Subject specific vocabulary is embedded across the curriculum, through teacher modelling, in context. Contextual learning helps children to understand new words and supports them in including them in their work.

Children use key learning behaviours in order to: take risks by challenging themselves; problem-solve and pose questions with curiosity; work co-operatively with learning buddies to listen to others, share ideas, opinions, approaches and viewpoints; use resilience and resourcefulness to communicate, sustain and justify opinions and viewpoints  and use reflection and evaluation to celebrate and improve on their learning.   These learning behaviours are underpinned by our Christian values of Respect, Responsibility, Creativity, Courage and Perseverance.

Guided Reading sessions encourage pupils to explore unfamiliar vocabulary and expand their knowledge of words. Staff model correct grammar in speech and encourage children to reflect this in their use of spoken and written language. Children are given the chance to orally rehearse ideas for writing regularly.

Drama is used across the curriculum to explore and engage children in their learning. This gives children the chance to embed vocabulary in shared activities. Each class leads worship once a year for parents, at least once a year in church and individual pupils lead class worship on a weekly basis.

Children in Reception and KS1  perform a nativity play each Christmas; KS2 also perform a Christmas production; Year 6 perform in Summer.  There are regular class led assemblies throughout the year.

This year, we are very much looking forward to participating in the GAPH organised competition, ‘Look Who’s Talking Oracy 2024!’  This competition shines a spotlight on oracy across Gloucestershire’s primary schools, allowing our children to compete in KS1, Lower KS2 and Upper KS2 categories. The competition celebrates the BIG voices of our small people will provide opportunities for our children to showcase their oracy skills as they compete in debates at a class, school and then county level.

Maths- A daily Mini-Maths Meeting or Number Talk session supports children to engage in whole class discussions and exploratory group talk.

Writing- Our feedback policy has oracy at the core and the ‘live’ marking process allows children to discuss their writing openly with their teacher and peers. They can then act immediately on advice given and this cultivates a sense of collaboration and shared purpose.

Reading- in Guided Reading and children are encouraged to discuss answers to questions posed.  In KS2,  VIPER's based questions allow children to build and develop these skills.  The regular use of 'Tell Me' grids (Aidan Chambers) ensure children develop and apply their oracy skills.  We encourage children to engage in cumulative talk around comprehension before attempting written answers.  Each class also has a ‘word of the day’ to develop vocabulary.

Humanities- All knowledge organisers across the school contain discussion points with a build-up of difficulty in questions related to their topic. Furthermore, Home learning is also related to knowledge organisers.

ICT- Across the school, children are given opportunities in ICT to present what they have learnt in computing. For example, presenting instructions for coding robots using air play to present debugging and algorithim solutions.

Music- Children actively feedback to each other on group performances.

PE- Children actively engage with peer feedback and are encouraged to discuss teamwork. Instructional talk is used confidently by children.

Science- Scientific literacy is being developed through immersive experiences using TAP’s Science Assessment and Explorify. Concept cartoons are used to stimulate discussion and children are continually encouraged to question their own predictions and results of experiments.

RE- RE topics are split into big questions which immediately spark discussion in classrooms. Key vocab is used and re-visited throughout topics.

Pupil voice- At Tutshill, we have a regular School Council meeting with a team of class ambassadors (Y1-Y6). Subject leaders, SLT and other members of the school community regularly attend meetings to listen, respect and act upon the views of the children.


The impact oracy has on our children is clear to see. Our children are confident speakers and they embrace opportunities to speak whether it be in the classroom, in assembly, in front of a panel of governors or in front of parents. The proof of the oracy learning that has taken place is heard in the voices of the children that we teach. It will be heard when listening to them recite a poem, watching them turn-take in a group discussion, felt through the profound questions they ask and the attentiveness with which they listen.

Summatively assessing oracy is a challenge that has been recognised nationally. Our INSIGHT, pupil curriculum tracker, is used to record the progress that pupils are making in terms of richer knowledge, greater retention of subject-specific vocabulary and being able to independently speak more eloquently and confidently at the end of each academic year. This will record whether the children are working towards the age related expectation, at the age related expectation or exceeding the age related expectation.

These judgements will be quality assured by subject leaders using first-hand evidence of how pupils are doing, drawing together evidence from formative methods like: pupil interviews, observations of tasks, reading tasks, work scrutinies and discussions with pupils about what they have absorbed and retained from the content they have studied. Short stake quizzing will also be used and quizzes based on knowledge organisers. These judgements will inform the curriculum and whether children are ready for the next stage of their education.