Our educational aims

Confident communicators, critical thinkers, empowered citizens

The vision for the charity today is that in a world where English is a global language, the ESU equips young people with the skills and confidence to articulate their ideas and share them with others. We help them discover their voice.

Empowerment through oracy

Our education programmes and projects enable a wide range of people to discover their voice. Central to our mission is a commitment to working with schools and young people to narrow gaps in opportunity and achievement.

Our aims are:

- To ensure broad access to our programmes and projects across a range of geographical areas and with a particular focus on disadvantaged young people.

- To establish Discover Your Voice as the core programme of the ESU, ensuring that this and other elements of our educational provision mutually reinforce each other.

- To develop ESU programmes/projects as sustainable long-term interventions, with measurable impact as a central tenet.

- To establish the ESU as a thought leader in speaking and listening in education.

- To establish the ESU as a brand which inspires and motivates young people to discover their voice.

Find out more about how we deliver these aims through:

Cultural Exchange


participants in our teaching programmes in 2015

Oracy is the ability to express oneself in the spoken word

It is about having the vocabulary to say what you want to say and the ability to structure your thoughts so that they make sense to others. The term works in tandem with literacy and numeracy but focusses on the ability to produce and respond to spoken language.

Four key verbal communication skillsets lie at the centre of our oracy provision and underpin the development and delivery of all of our programmes:

- Reasoning and Evidence

- Organisation and Prioritization

- Listening and Response

- Expression and Delivery

For more information about the importance of oracy, take a look at this recent article from the World Economic Forum.

In 2016 and in partnership with Voice 21, we launched The Oracy Network.

The Oracy Network seeks to bring together schools, educational organisations and individuals who share a belief that we should be doing much more to develop young people’s speaking and listening skills. It exists to:

- amplify the status of oracy skills in the school curriculum

- support oracy education in schools by facilitating the sharing of good practice, resources and research related to oracy

- use combined resources to lobby relevant bodies, with the objective of ensuring that the importance of oracy in education is reflected policy making and curriculum development

The network has already gained some high profile supporters including, among others, Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the newly formed National College of Teaching, and leading academics from Cambridge University.

The Oracy Network

We are proud to work closely with a number of education partners:

CT logoThe Communication Trust is a consortium of over 50 not for profit organisations working to support children and young people’s speech, language and communication in England, especially those who struggle as they have speech, language and communication needs.

Being part of the Communication Trust’s consortium of partners places us alongside over 50 not-for-profit organisations, all of which share the Trust’s vision of enabling every child and young person to communicate to the best of their ability.FEAThe Fair Education Alliance works towards a world where our education system is fair – where children’s educational success is not limited by their socio-economic background.

By being a member of the FEA we are adding our voice to a wide range of institutions committed to working together to close the attainment gap between the most disadvantaged children and their wealthier peers.