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Oracy at Quarrydale Academy

In September 2022, Quarrydale Academy became a Voice 21 school. The rationale behind becoming joining Voice 21 was to develop the oracy skills of every student.

What is oracy?

Oracy is the ability to communicate effectively using spoken language. It is the ability to speak eloquently, having the confidence to express views, articulate ideas and thoughts and influence other people through talking. A key component of oracy is listening to other people when they are speaking and reflecting on their ideas and opinions.


Why is oracy important?

By focusing on oracy, both within and outside the classroom, we hope to achieve the following:


  • Increase students’ confidence.
  • Improve students’ academic outcomes. Research from the Education Endowment Endowment Foundation suggests that focusing on oracy in school can add an additional 5 months of progress for each child.
  • To enhance students’ wellbeing.
  • Enable students to thrive beyond school.
  • Narrow gaps and promote equity.
  • To develop students’ writing skills.


Which skills does oracy focus on?

As a Voice 21 school, we at Quarrydale Academy value the importance of oracy and strive to focus on developing four key areas:


  • Physical – voice projection, facial expressions, posture and clarity of pronunciation.
  • Linguistic – using appropriate vocabulary, using rhetorical techniques and using appropriate register and grammar.
  • Cognitive – clarifying and summarising, giving reasons to support viewpoints and critically examining ideas and viewpoints.
  • Social and emotional – working with others, listening and responding, developing confidence in speaking and being aware of the audience, perhaps by taking into account the level of understanding.


How does oracy work in the classroom?

In the classroom, we focus on Learning to Talk and Learning Through Talking. This means that students learn how to become good speakers and learn through talking.


In the classroom, there will be opportunities to work in pairs, trios, large groups and as a whole class. There are various discussion roles, including:


  • Instigator – starts the discussion or opens up a new topic for discussion.
  • Prober – digs deeper into the argument, asks for evidence or justification of ideas.
  • Challenger – gives reasons to disagree or presents an alternative argument.
  • Clarifier – simplifies and makes things clearer by asking questions.
  • Summariser – identifies the main ideas from the discussion.
  • Builder – develops, adds to or runs with an idea.


What are the rules for listening in the classroom?

Good oracy does not just focus on the ability to be a good speaker. It is also important to have good listening skills, which is an essential part of oracy.


  • Listen carefully – try to summarise what has been said and ask questions.
  • Face the speaker – make sure you are looking at the speaker so that they know you are listening.
  • Body language – use your body language to show that you are calm and focused.


For more information, please contact Mr Danylevych (, Voice 21 School Lead.