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Home > Oracy Education Research

Find out how the ESU is contributing to the evidence base supporting oracy education in the UK and internationally

ESU Oracy Action Research programme

The ESU’s first Oracy Action Research programme, in association with academics from the University of Sussex’s Speaking Citizen project, is underway. We are working with 12 schools to support them to develop their own oracy research programme, contributing to the ‘what works’ practical evidence base around oracy education. Schools will report their findings in the autumn of 2023, supported by our inaugural Oracy  Research Conference. Find out more.

Why Oracy Matters

Our Why Oracy Matters report is the ESU’s latest contribution to the wider evidence base around oracy. Commissioned by the ESU and authored by Dr Jonathan Doherty, this report synthesises the evidence base and case for oracy across a range of disciplines. It is also packed with tangible take-aways, hints, tips and ideas for teachers to embed oracy into their everyday practice. We hope that this report is an excellent one-stop-shop for research and educators, helping them to make evidence-informed decisions about the oracy education happening in their settings.

The case for oracy is strong. A good oracy education has positive impact across educational attainment, school readiness, social mobility and into employment prospects. This report not only highlights the latest research in the field, but brings together some of the current models of oracy education, including the ESU’s Four Key Skillsets, to demonstrate what is already working. By supporting teachers to be reflective in their own practice, the report also supports professional development and confidence for teaching staff – something we know is vitally needed.

Download the report to find out more. The ESU is also able to provide further support and guidance for schools looking to develop their oracy practice via our programmes.

A pupil expressing himself during an activity while his peer listens to him
A photo of a person writing down his ideas while two other people joyfully watch him

Oracy Research Conference

The ESU’s inaugural Oracy Research Conference took place on Friday 3 November, and we look forward to hosting another event in 2024. In this one-day event, we heard some of the latest oracy research from leading experts in the field, discovered what schools are doing in their classrooms to develop their oracy practice, and were presented with research findings from a primary theatre and oracy project led by Travelling Light Theatre Company. With keynotes from leading speakers, and sessions from ESU Oracy Action Research schools, we were delighted to connect with so many practitioners. See you next year!  For more information contact

Walter Hines Page Scholarship

Entering its centenary year in 2023, the English-Speaking Union’s Walter Hines Page scholarships enable UK teaching professionals to travel to America to research an oracy or communication project of their choosing that can also help inform our own work in this field. Scholars report their findings which are shared nationally and internationally. Find out more and apply

A photo of Emma Robinson on a mountain hill with a lot of flags in the background
A photo of 4 pupils hugging each other

Speaking Frankly

Published in 2016, Speaking Frankly is a collection of essays by teachers, academics and educational thinkers on the importance of oracy in education. A useful resource for anyone new to oracy education, or looking to develop their knowledge

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