"I speak fluently and with confidence"
Our students learn to be confident, powerful speakers
Young people need to be able to talk in a range of settings and styles, using a wide vocabulary with fluency. Speaking is as important as reading, writing, and maths.
We want our school to prepare students for using spoken language as well as teaching them to be brilliant writers and avid readers. Good oral communication skills are at the top of every employer's list, but in an average lesson in an inner city school, an individual student speaks fewer than four words.
Students don’t just need these skills to get a job, but in their lives today as well, both inside and outside the classroom.
Spoken language enables students to flourish at school
Well-structured and high-quality exploratory talk in the classroom is a highly effective tool for learning – it makes as much difference to students’ progress as setting homework or one-to-one tuition (according to http://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/toolkit/oral-language-interventions/).
We teach students how to work together in pairs, threes and groups and how to structure their conversations so that they become productive explorers of the subject at hand.
Eloquence and wellbeing are at the heart of School 21
To feel able to speak, our students need to feel secure in themselves. We spend time building up our students’ confidence so that they are able to make friends, form meaningful relationships, be kind to others and find their own voices.
Coaching: one teacher and a small family of 12 students
We have six coaching groups in each year of the school. Each group is made up of 12 students and one teacher. They work together before and after school on large-scale projects, as well as having conversations about pastoral issues.
The Six Attributes
An Oracy curriculum – discrete lessons in spoken language
We have dedicated lessons in the timetable for teaching spoken language. In Year 7, students learn the basics of ‘talk for learning’ – how to work in pairs, groups and threes and have productive conversations about work.
They work together on a range of projects and at the end of the year, each child gives a five minute speech, without notes, on a subject of their choice to an audience of teachers, parents and the rest of their year-group.
Year 8 students are learning how to use these skills in contexts outside the classroom: speaking to unfamiliar adults, in person, over the phone and using different media.
We are working on an exciting project with Cambridge University to share our work with other schools. The project is called Voice 21 and you can read more about it here: