Quite simply, we are a group of schools, educational organisations, other bodies and individuals, all sharing a belief that we should be doing much more to develop young people’s speaking and listening skills. For various reasons, these skills are often not given the same attention by schools as reading and writing. We believe this is a problem. Spoken communication skills are central not only to employability but also to well-being and academic achievement.
We exist because we believe that the best way to overcome this problem is through collaboration, support and sharing. This website is here to provide a space to allow this to happen.
The Oracy Network is overseen by the English-Speaking Union and Voice 21, two organisations committed to the development of oracy skills, as well as raising awareness of their importance.
The network has already gained some high profile supporters including, among many others, Dame Alison Peacock, Chief Executive of the newly formed National College of Teaching, and leading academics from Cambridge University.
The need is critical. Despite a wealth of evidence from educators, academics, economists and employers as to the importance of oracy, it currently has meagre status within our education system. We aim to change this.
Have a look around: Here you will find: news about oracy-related events, resources you can access and download, research reports, blogs, information about services and training related to oracy skills, and much more.
The development of speaking and listening or oracy skills should be a priority for educational institutions.
We believe that an explicit and structured focus on the fostering of effective oracy skills in schools, can have a positive impact on students’:
Because of this, we believe that it is incumbent on:
To this end, we exist to:
How we will do this:
How can debating help communication skills? Or drama? Can oracy be used effectively in the early years school environment? What does an oracy-centred curriculum look like in practice? All these questions and more are answered in Speaking Frankly, a collection of essays by teachers, educationalists and oracy experts. Download the entire publication here, or browse individual chapters here.
Oracy: the State of Speaking in our Schools shines a light on the current state of oracy in schools across the UK. It synthesises existing research on oracy, and explores teachers’ understanding of what oracy is, why they feel it matters, how oracy is supported in classrooms and schools, and the main barriers to oracy. It then sets out recommendations for enhancing the quality and consistency of oracy in our schools. Read the research, authored by the education thinktank LKMco, here.
And that’s not all. The resources section allows you to search for lesson plans; for teacher training materials to use and adapt; and for ideas and tips on making assemblies, coaching groups and even parents’ evenings more interactive and fun.
The network was launched on 8th November 2016 at the House of Lords, where two publications were promoted: Speaking Frankly – a collection of essays making the case for oracy in the school curriculum – and a research report on the current State of Speaking in Schools. A Commission on the Future of Speaking in Schools was also announced.
On Friday 30th June, the ESU is hosting a free international event to bring together teachers from around the world to consider a variety of different ways in which education professionals can, and in some cases, already do, use oracy-related skills in classrooms and curriculums around the world.
The ESU believes that by teaching pupils speaking and listening skills (known as oracy) they can become confident communicators, critical thinkers and empowered citizens. This symposium aims to bring practitioners and education experts from this field to discuss the benefits to students that teaching oracy can provide, while also addressing the challenges of teaching a subject that is often unassessed and hard to fit into a rigid curriculum.
The afternoon will be highly interactive, with speakers launching and facilitating oracy-themed discussions within and between smaller international groups of attendees. The sessions are suitable for practitioners of all subject areas and age groups.
The symposium is being held at the English-Speaking Union’s headquarters in Mayfair. It begins at 2 pm, and teas and coffees will be provided.
The content of this website is user-driven. Please send any oracy-related resources, news items, blogs, links etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org We will do our best to post your materials as soon as we can, so that everyone can benefit from them.
If you are an educational charity or organisation with an oracy focus and would like to signpost your services here, please send a high resolution jpeg of your organisation’s logo, plus a brief summary of your services to email@example.com