Speak for Change Inquiry: interim report
The Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has released an interim report which highlights that young people have unequal access to opportunities to develop their oracy skills in schools in England. It emphasises the vital importance of developing students’ confidence and competence in spoken language, particularly as the disruption to children’s education over this past year is widening the already stubborn language gap.
The Oracy APPG is calling for better support for teachers to embed oracy in their classrooms and raised expectations for pupils’ entitlement to quality oracy teaching, in order to harness the untapped potential of oracy to address educational inequality, improve employability and support children's wellbeing as we emerge from this crisis.
The report highlights that:
Over half of teachers surveyed said their schools do not have a consistent approach to oracy development among pupils.
92% of teachers think school closures during lockdown have contributed to a widening of the 'word gap' (Oxford University Press/ CFEY) and Ofsted recently raised concerns that children hit hardest are “regressing in basic skills and learning”, including language, communication and oral fluency.
Education Endowment Foundation trials of oral language interventions have enabled students to make an average of five months additional progress over a year. A greater focus on continued language development is proven to support particularly the most disadvantaged students to catch-up.
Most teachers intuitively recognise oracy’s value and importance, but barriers persist inhibiting its uptake in schools.