‘Speak for Change’ Oracy APPG Inquiry Interim Findings

In partnership with The 'Speak for Change' Oracy All-Party Parliamentary Group


10th December 2020

Today, 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 (a theme our report for Oxford University Press also highlights).

Using evidence supplied by the Inquiry, CfEY wrote this interim report, which builds on the legacy of ours and Voice 21’s 2016 State of Speaking report. The interim report highlights key themes arising from the APPG’s investigating and emerging recommendations. As a member of the Oracy Network, CfEY is delighted to see a continued focus on oracy through the APPG and its work.

The Oracy APPG’s interim report findings show that:

  • Oracy improves children and young people’s cognitive development and academic attainment, their wellbeing, and life chances by enabling them to develop the spoken language skills necessary to thrive in further education, training and employment.
  • 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 and Ofsted recently raised concerns that children hit hardest are “regressing in basic skills and learning”, including language, communication and oral fluency.
  • The evidence regarding the impact oracy has on attainment is compelling – the Education Endowment Foundation has shown that 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. 
  • From the evidence it is clear that spoken language should have a higher status and value within our education system and better support is needed for teachers with training, alongside the development of common standards and shared expectations across schools.

The Speak for Change Inquiry, launched by a cross-party group of MPs and Peers last year, highlights that while most teachers intuitively recognise oracy’s value and importance, barriers persist inhibiting its uptake in schools. 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.

“A vanguard of teachers and school leaders are leading the way in terms of innovative oracy practice. ...I remain in awe of the work already underway in schools across the country” @EmmaHardyMP @TheCFEY @AppgOracy #SpeakforChange https://bit.ly/3qKyXKv Share on X

There is still time to have your say in the Inquiry and input into the final report due in Spring 2021, via submitting written or video evidence. If you would like to get involved or download the report please visit www.oracyappg.org.uk or contact [email protected].

Please help us spread the word @AppgOracy #SpeakforChange


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