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The Mount Stewart Schools

Spoken Language

What is primary school oracy?

Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language. In school, oracy is a vital tool for learning; by teaching children to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them. Conversation Matters!


Oracy provides all children with the skills to be challenged, to learn and achieve, where every voice is valued, active listening and critical thinking are embedded in line with the ethos of resilience, ambition and respect. 

Key focus throughout the curriculum



Year group


Years 1-2

Years 3-4

Year 5

Year 6

Oracy focus

Speaking out

Active listening

Debate and argument

Direct vocabulary instruction and speaking fluently

Direct vocabulary instruction and speaking fluently 

7-year learning journey 

The oracy learning journey shows the development of oracy from EYFS through to the end of KS2. It enables us to map out where children should be compared to where they are and support them in reaching the intended milestones, helping to close the gap between children with lower reading and speech ages and those in the same year group.


As talk is integral to learning, children will be encouraged to employ talk tactics in all lessons. These will encourage children to summarise, clarify, challenge, build, probe and instigate ideas, building on critical thinking and confidence. These will be displayed in classrooms and used by staff to articulate ideas. Staff will model good oracy by communicating the thought processes underpinning talk and permanently highlighting a vital idea or type of contribution.

We aim to encourage confident, fluent speakers who can articulate their ideas in a wide range of situations through the following whole school strategies:

  • Speaking in standard English and full sentences
  • Direct vocabulary instruction
  • Debate
  • Peer Talk

Children will be experiencing a range of oracy explicit activities across the curriculum including:

  • Talk like an expert
  • Critical thinking
  • Debates
  • Talking Partners
  • Collaborative work
  • Reading lessons
  • Presentation of learning
  • Questioning
  • Modelling of tier 2 and 3 words

“Talk is the most powerful tool of communication in the classroom and it’s fundamentally central to the acts of teaching and learning”. Professor Frank Hardman.

Learning beyond the classroom

  • Debating issues- debate club
  • Debating competitions
  • Presentations- a confident presenter
  • Links made to careers- especially in Careers week
  • Developing higher-order thinking skills through the use of Talk Partners


Oral language interventions aim to develop spoken vocabulary. They are related to current content learning in the classroom and involve active and meaningful use of any new vocabulary.

Speaking and Listening Intervention examples:

  • RISE UP Programme – Speaking and Listening
  • Speaking and Listening Therapy
  • Nelli -Nuffield Early Language Intervention
  • Super Reading Programme
  • Pupils read aloud and then have conversations about book content with teachers and peers
  • Modelling inference through the use of structured questioning
  • Group or paired work that allow pupils to share thought processes


Feedback is given throughout lessons by teachers aiming to build the confidence of all children in their oracy skills.

Speaking and Listening Progression Map