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Speaking and Listening  

Oracy is the ability to communicate effectively. One of the biggest barriers to young people getting on in life is a lack of eloquence and confidence. Employers put good oral communication at the top of their requirements for employees. yet traditionally, it has rarely been taught systematically in schools.

Whilst research has found that good oracy leads to higher order thinking and deeper understanding, an average child may speak no more than four words in a lesson. 

Our aim as a school, therefore, is to elevate speaking to the same status as reading and writing. We use a framework which was developed by Cambridge University and School 21 in London, which breaks down oracy into 4 distinct strands:

  • Physical

  • Cognitive

  • Linguistic

  • Social & Emotional

At the heart of good oracy is the dialogic classroom, a classroom rich in talk, in which questions are planned, peer conversations are modelled and scaffolded and the teacher uses talk skillfully to develop thinking. At the heart of a school culture, we believe, are a variety of opportunities for young people to develop confidence in talk and learn how to analyse and talk about talk. At Johnston we have developed a number of opportunities for talk.:


  • Assemblies are held using a range of talk protocols.

  • Terrific Talker events. 

  • School radio. 

  • School museum events where children explain their learning. 

  • Special Visitor events where pupils are able to use their skills to meet and discuss information with interesting visitors.  ​

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