How to get pupils talking and improve outcomes

When one school identified that its children weren’t talking in lessons, it embarked on a mission to boost their spoken language skills. Here assistant head Nicky Pear explains how a new focus on oracy has transformed the school’s culture of teaching and learning, improving pupil confidence and Sats results

How to get pupils talking and improve outcomes

The conclusions were clear: firstly, our children were beautifully behaved; secondly, they were performing above the national average in reading, writing and maths; but thirdly, they were very, very passive – “Like getting blood from a stone” was one frank, but not unfair, description of our children’s participation (or lack thereof) in lessons.

That last point came as a shock (though it seems so obvious now). We had not gone into the above peer review exercise – conducted with other local primary schools – with purposeful talk in lessons as an identified weakness. But there it was, in ...

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