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The English-Speaking Union is a charity working to give young people the speaking and listening skills and the cross-cultural understanding they need to thrive

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How the English-Speaking Union is addressing the APPG’s findings on the life-limiting effects of a lack of oracy education

As a founder member of the Oracy Network, out of which the Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group developed, the English-Speaking Union (ESU) is pleased to have contributed to the APPG’s momentous Speak for Change Inquiry report.  The full report is here and an executive summary is here.  It highlights the devastating impact of the pandemic on the already marked spoken ‘language gap’ between disadvantaged students and their peers, and posits an indisputable case that oracy skills, which underpin academic attainment, literacy, employability, civic engagement and confidence and wellbeing, should be an integral aspect of all children’s and young people’s school education.

‘Spoken communication is such a fundamental issue in the world today – because the digital revolution has made it a less and less practised skill’ says Miles Young, Chair of the ESU and Warden of New College, Oxford. ‘I’ve seen that as an employer, where people perform poorly in interviews simply because they’d never had any basic training, and I also see it very much in the Higher Education context where applicants from less privileged backgrounds find it difficult to express who they are or what they stand for. I hope very much that with this report, oracy will start to receive the importance it deserves’.

Jane Easton, Director-General, is proud of the ESU’s contributions to the Speak for Change report, and has announced an Oracy Consultant role to help build on the report’s recommendations and increase further the ESU’s impact, especially for the most disadvantaged students.

We thank ESU members, alumni and supporters for all you do to promote the ESU’s vital work, and the volunteering and financial contributions which make our oracy work possible.

ESU activities 20/21

Registration for the ESU’s 20/21 competitions is now closed. Sign up below to be the first to hear about next year’s competitions when they go live.

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‘Young people today are exposed to a tide of incivility – they need to be equipped with the skills to cope with it’

MILES YOUNG, ESU CHAIR

For teachers

We offer rigorous speech and debate programmes, competitions and resources to boost oracy provision in your school, as well as workshops and scholarships to aid your professional development.

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Our network of branches across England and Wales provides opportunities to meet like-minded people, to socialise and to gain new perspectives on the world. Membership helps fund our vital educational work and many members also fundraise or volunteer their time.

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There are over 50 international English-Speaking Unions around the world, spanning the globe from Albania to Yemen. All work to promote proficiency in spoken English as a means of cultural exchange and understanding.

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We regret that, due to the pandemic, Dartmouth House is currently closed to members.

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