How To Make Your School Standout with a Standout Oracy Strategy
Oracy is to speaking and language development what numeracy is to maths and literacy is to reading and writing. It’s an essential component in improving the communication skills of children.
By Imtiaz Jamil
Every school is good at numeracy. Every school is good at literacy. But very few schools are good at oracy. Perhaps why you don’t hear the word so much.
In the most recent APPG report (April 2021′ Speak for Change’), the UK parliamentary committee cited that 77% of school leaders wanted good oracy in their school but didn’t know where to start or how to implement it.
Although the report is UK based the figures may be the same, if not worse in other countries around the world. Speaking and the ability to speak with confidence is a challenge and the next barrier to success for schools, parents and children – and indeed the wider community.
Every career, now and in the future, demands communication skills. The more senior the career the more the need for excellent communication skills.
This poses a huge opportunity for schools to differentiate themselves but they must do it in a way that enhances their oracy offer so parents understand the benefits such a strategy will bring them, their child and their child’s future.
Plus, any program that a school decides to implement must have a clear track record of helping children, be easy for teachers and staff to use. Otherwise schools run the risk of another program sitting on the shelf, gathering dust, which helps no one.
Kindergartens and Nurseries Are Winning
The APPG report also highlights the advantages of starting at younger ages – even from EYFS – where they say oracy is usually strong as kindergartens and nurseries are excellent at brining on the language and development of younger children.
“This poses a huge opportunity for schools to differentiate themselves but they must do it in a way that enhances their oracy offer so parents understand the benefits such a strategy will bring them, their child and their child’s future.”
Primary Schools Are Failing
However, there is a serious and unforgiveable gap at primary school ages and children are failing to receive the attention they need. The report mentions this could be due to a perceived lack of in-house expertise to drive any oracy strategy forward. So unfortunately many such strategies never ever see the light of day, let alone be trialed and used in the classroom.
The hardest hit children are the most vulnerable in school and often the ones receiving pupil premium and free school meals. However, this is not a time for schools to rest on their laurels if they don’t have such learners (or very few).
The report screams out that every child regardless of background misses out on huge potential gains if there is little or no regard to a sustained, structured approach to oracy and public speaking.
Interestingly the report also states that a good communications program can bring on literacy and numeracy skills by up to 5 months in some cases. So a no-brainer if your school is looking for improvement in other areas as well as oracy. This will be of particular interest to any head teacher who is in the process of developing a solid and successful catch up program.
What Young People Are Saying
75% of school leavers said that their school ‘did not do enough’ oracy skills with them and 78% of school leavers said oracy ‘was very important to them’.
Doing nothing is no longer an option. And in fact making a start now is a savvy and intelligent move because it will fulfil the needs of your students, parents and community. And wouldn’t it be great to be known as the school who produces confident communicators?
So How Do You Get Started?
Young Leaders Academy are now offering their successful UK oracy and public speaking program called Pitch Perfect, to schools in and outside the UK.
They have made the program accessible online with a full teacher resource pack so schools with little or even no experience in public speaking and oracy can hit the ground running. This means you can use the program with staff who have no experience in public speaking, saving you time and resources.
Find out more about Pitch Perfect, the public speaking program for Primary Schools here.
If you would like to discuss more about how to implement a successful oracy strategy and program in your school, please email email@example.com or call our whatsapp number for immediate attention on +447961181967 (GMT 9am-5pm Monday to Friday).