Our aim at Mayflower Community Academy is to develop a positive attitude towards speaking and listening. Oracy is the ability to express yourself clearly and communicate with others effectively through spoken language. It is the strategy for learning to talk and learning through talk. It’s not simply about being a good talker, or talking a lot, it’s also about listening and responding to others.
“97% of teachers, 94% of employers and 88% of young people believe that life skills such as confidence, motivation, resilience and communication are as or more important than academic qualifications” (Sutton Trust).
Oracy is an essential tool that we use through all subjects so that pupils can organise and select their words in order to choose the most effective way of communicating about their learning. From Nursery to Year Six, we have high expectations of all of our pupils in order for them to learn, understand and use a wide range of vocabulary, structure their thoughts and to be able to communicate confidently with adults and peers. We recognise that it is a partnership between home and school which encourages each child to have a confidence in their own voice.
“Spoken language plays a key role in cognitive development, helping children understand the world around them” (LKMco & Voice 21).
A key part of Oracy is for pupils to think carefully about the language they’re using and tailor it to their subject, purpose and audience. For example, a Year Six pupil should understand that they need to use simpler words and sentence structures when explaining the rules of a game to a Reception child than they would if they were with their peers.
At Mayflower Community Academy, we recognise that being a good communicator is a life skill and therefore it is our aim to provide all pupil’s with the tools, vocabulary and confidence for them to develop into effective communicators for their school life and further. Critically, Oracy underpins the development of reading and writing, and is key to progress in all subjects. Research shows that a strength in Oracy leads to improved performance in other curriculum areas, like maths and science.
“Oracy improves literacy, including reading comprehension, spelling and writing” (LKMco & Voice 21).
If pupils have good Oracy skills, they can express their feelings more effectively and so are more likely to form good relationships with other children and adults. In turn, it means that that children who are good communicators are less likely to have mental health problems as adults.
“Evidence shows that Oracy has a positive impact on academic and cognitive outcomes, self-esteem, well-being and mental health, social mobility, employability and civic engagement” (Jay et al.; Hanley P P, Slavin R and Elliot L; Nagda B and Gurin P).