Get on board for oral skills

28th November 2003 at 00:00
The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority guidelines on speaking and listening will be welcomed as, although spoken language is largely developmental, it can be enriched, steered and refined by skilled teaching.

It is a notorious "slippery eel" to pin down into schemes of work, to demonstrate and structure progression, and to record. A growing number of schools are finding the answer to these issues by joining the English Speaking Board (ESB) which has been assessing oral communication skills for 50 years and is a QCA-approved awarding body.

The assessments, run by experienced examiners skilled in bringing out the best possible oral responses from pupils, fall into four areas; a talk, a memorised presented piece, a prepared reading and discussion. Pupils are individually assessed in small participating groups, supported by their peers and are provided with a full written report graded in four sections leading to an overall result.

Literacy consultants and primary teachers who have tried the ESB with funding from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, have, without exception, embraced it with enthusiasm and want to continue ESB once the funding finishes.

Peer mentoring schemes have grown around preparation for assessments, ensuring growth of skills for the listener as well as the speaker. Schemes of work also fall into place easily, interwoven with PSHE and the literacy hour.

Amanda Kipling English Speaking Board 26a Princes Street Southport

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today