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Oracy and Debate

At Ramsgate Arts Primary School, we truly appreciate the value of spoken language. We know that if young people can learn to communicate and articulate themselves effectively, this will open opportunities for them and help them to succeed in all they do.

Our main school aims for developing spoken language in our pupils is made up of three key drivers:
  1. To provide pupils with a wide and rich range of vocabulary.
  2. To provide pupils the skills to express themselves effectively across all opportunities for spoken language (including hold successful conversations, presenting, engaging in debates and discussions). 
  3. To provide pupils the opportunity to develop performance and public speaking skills, learning to address an audience with confidence and eloquence.
In line with and alongside as our school aims, we follow the aims for Spoken Language provided by the National Curriculum which states that pupils should be taught to:
  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

How does Ramsgate Arts Primary School provide pupils with opportunities to develop spoken language?

At Ramsgate Arts Primary School, there are multiple opportunities for pupils to engage in spoken language. Both our curriculum content and our teaching approaches mean that pupils are offered rich and purposeful opportunities for talk- including opportunities for discussion, argument, debate and presentation.

Below are just some of the ways pupils at Ramsgate Arts Primary School are able to develop their spoken language:
  • Drama lessons. Pupils engage in weekly drama lessons are part of the Arts Curriculum at RAPS. This affords them the opportunity to develop oracy skills, including by rehearsing and performing. Through drama techniques, pupils learn how to use their voice as a tool, developing an understanding of how pitch, tone and volume can impact the listener.
  • Performances. Through regular performances, pupils at RAPS develop their ability to present and perform to an audience.
  • Public speaking competitions. Pupils in Years 3-6 have the chance to engage in our Trust Speaker Competition each year. We also engage in community events and contests which relate to speaking and performance.
  • Debate and oracy lessons. During Personal Development Week, pupils from Years 1- 6 engage in carefully constructed debate and oracy lessons. They learn the knowledge and skills to engage in effective debate and have the chance to do so via purposeful and relevant topics.
  • English lessons. During English lessons, pupils have many opportunities to ask and answer questions, suggest and share ideas and opinions, engage in discussion and present to their peers.
  • Across the wider curriculum. Pupils at RAPS are so often using spoken language across the curriculum as part of their everyday learning. They engage with a talk partner throughout each day, engage in discussions as groups or classes and constantly engage conversationally with adults.
  • Everyday life at RAPS. Pupils are encouraged to speak effectively at all points throughout their school day. All members of the team aim to model excellence in spoken language and ensure that pupils are expected to do the same. Each opportunity to talk with a peer, staff member or group is taken as another opportunity to improve a child’s spoken language.

As a result of the experiences and opportunities pupils gain through their time at Ramsgate Arts Primary School, we expected that pupils develop effective listening skills, understanding how listening is a key part of communication. They develop the knowledge and use of a wide range of stage-appropriate and challenging vocabulary in their spoken language. They learn to express their views and thoughts with eloquence, confidence and cohesion. In addition, they develop ways to disagree with others, offering effective counter arguments using evidence and viewpoint. Our pupils have the opportunity to develop public speaking skills by addressing an audience (small group, class group, school group or larger community). Overall, we believe that through both discrete and organic focus on spoken language, our pupils develop an appreciation for the role of language and communication to help them succeed in all they do.