Through The Wood Foundation’s Excelerate investment, a network of Oracy Leads in partner schools will receive immersive professional learning to develop and implement whole-school oracy plans and cascade learning.

Up to three practitioners from each participating school will work with The Wood Foundation and specialists from Oracy Cambridge to develop:

  1. Oracy as an overt skill set: direct teaching to enable students to use talk to get things done, and to learn effectively.
  2. Dialogic teaching: teachers’ use of talk so that students learn effectively through talk.

Communication was identified as a key skill at the School Leaver Profile events held with the communities of Banff, Portlethen, and Kemnay Academies. The ability to present, be confident, and actively question will be important for young people as they progress through their education and onto their post-school pathways. It also supports health and wellbeing priorities, supporting young people’s ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings.

Oracy feeds into Excelerate’s vision to empower young people as active citizens navigating a dynamic labour market.

Gayle Duffus of The Wood Foundation said:

“We are looking forward to launching our oracy initiative with our partner schools. Oracy is an important skill to develop in all areas of education. Focussing on this with intentionality with Oracy Leads will be important to embed it within school structures and the curriculum.”

The professional learning, which will take place through a series of in-person and virtual events and collaborative network opportunities, will build and extend on the opportunities to realise each school’s priorities by training staff in new and effective pedagogical approaches.

Alan Howe of Oracy Cambridge, the Hughes Hall Centre for Effective Spoken Communication based at Cambridge University, said:

“Oracy Cambridge is delighted to partner with The Wood Foundation to support the development of oracy in participating schools over the next few years. This initiative is an opportunity to teach students the wide range of speaking and listening skills that will equip them for success in the classroom, in the wider school community, and for life and work outside and beyond school.”