At SBL, we understand that oracy isn’t just about doing well academically; it’s a crucial skill for life. Effective communication is essential in today’s world, whether at work, in our communities, or in personal relationships. By improving oracy skills, we’re giving our students an advantage in our ever-changing society.

Oracy is playing an increasingly crucial role in the educational landscape at SBL. It is making our classroom discussions more engaging and preparing our students for success beyond school.

Our oracy journey started with simple yet effective techniques like “think pair share,” which encouraged discussion using sentence stems as prompts for talk in the classroom. However, working with Voice 21 has led to a significant change in our approach, guiding us towards a more structured and comprehensive framework for developing oracy.

This year, we have launched our own oracy framework, inspired by the “talk tactics” recommended by Voice 21. This framework is helping to create purposeful and impactful conversations across all subjects.

At SBL, we are integrating Voice 21’s principles and talk tactics into various aspects of our teaching approach. This includes incorporating them into retrieval practice, exploring new material, facilitating questioning, reviewing hinge points, and summarising subject knowledge. Witnessing students actively engage and demonstrate their understanding through lively and interactive verbal participation is heartening.

Using Voice 21’s strategies has brought new energy to oracy in our classrooms. Whether it’s spontaneous chats or planned debates, our students now have the tools to express themselves confidently and clearly.

But our commitment to oracy goes beyond the classroom. The annual Science Speaks competition, now influenced by Voice 21, shows how teaching public speaking skills prepares our students for life beyond education.

Additionally, our pioneering science department is leading efforts to evaluate the impact of our oracy strategy. Through innovative tools like our oracy learning checklists and improvement tasks, they’re continually promoting the development of student oracy skills.

Our partnership with Voice 21 has been pivotal in working towards building a culture of oracy excellence at SBL. As we work to equip our students with the skills they need, we remain committed to nurturing confident, articulate, and empowered individuals ready to seize opportunities in the future.

We are pleased to share that oracy is a substantial component of SBL’s excellent literacy practices, which were recognised in the recent RAV. Looking ahead, we’re eager to further our oracy journey, guided by Voice 21’s principles and fuelled by our commitment to empowering our students for life.

Liz Hall, Associate Assistant Headteacher, Sir Bernard Lovell Academy