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St John XXIII Catholic Primary School Inspiring Faith in our Future

Oracy - Voice 21

Oracy at St John XXIII

We recognise the extreme importance of being able to talk well and learn through talk. Oracy, is a vital part of the Curriculum at St John XXIII and we have started working in partnership with Voice 21 this academic year to ensure that we are teaching Oracy in all aspects of the curriculum to the highest standard. 


What Is Oracy?

Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language.


Oracy develops students' confidence, articulacy and capacity to learn.

Voice 21.


Oracy is…

  • Engaging with others ideas
  • Reasoning together
  • Listening to understand
  • Changing people’s minds
  • Telling compelling stories
  • Developing arguments
  • Expressing yourself
  • Speaking up for what you believe in


At St John XXIII, we are teaching our children to be confident, articulate speakers and effective listeners; these two skills are fundamental to all we do now and in the children’s lives when they leave St John XXIII.


Our Vision for Oracy

At St John XXIII Primary School we are working hard to provide a high quality oracy education. This academic year we have started to work with Voice 21 to ensure that we are committed to building and embedding a culture of oracy. As part of the three year programme we will embed purposeful talk which is used to drive forward learning, through talk in the classroom, which will be be planned, designed, modelled, scaffolded and structured to enable all learners to develop the skills needed to talk effectively and with confidence. The deliberate, explicit and systematic teaching of oracy across phases and throughout the curriculum will support the children of St John XXIII to make progress in the four strands of oracy. We want every child at St John XXIII Primary School to find their voice. Oracy develops pupils' confidence, articulacy and capacity to learn. Providing a high quality oracy education empowers students, regardless of their background, to find their voice for success in school and in life. Effective communication skills are needed for students to succeed in later life. As part of the Voice 21 oracy programme this will further supports us to create an oracy embedded curriculum and enable pupils to develop speaking and listening skills.


Why do we have a focus on Oracy?

Leaders analysed a range of information, including internal assessment, gaps in subject knowledge and end of key stage data.  It highlighted that children needed additional opportunities to learn to talk and learn through talk. In addition, research (Millard and Menzies, State of Speaking) shows almost half of British employers, reported that young people enter the work place with inadequate communication, presentation and interpersonal skills that are needed to thrive in the work place.


What is the intended impact?

This project is a long term, ongoing project and not one that will complete by the end of this academic year.  We envisage that children will become confident and effective communicators and be able to use these skills in all areas of the curriculum and later in life.  This will underpin the children’s ability to make a positive contribution and global citizens.


How are we teaching Oracy at St John XXIII?

We have a multi-layered approach to develop Oracy and are using the 4 domains set out by Voice 21; physical, linguistic, cognitive and social and emotional.  During the first year of our project, we are particularly focusing on posture, vocabulary, reasoning and collaboration. In the early years, a high focus is given to the physical development of speech and positive talk.  It essential that all domains are developed effectively as they progress through our school. Teachers will plan regular and purposeful opportunities which enable children to take part in exploratory talk and listen carefully to one another. Subject-specific language is used across all areas of the curriculum to support children's development. Teachers and adults in school model effective talk and listening skills. Whilst higher order (tier 3) vocabulary is shared and taught throughout the school.