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Committed to excellent standards of teaching in partnership with a variety of local and national organisations contributing towards system-wide improvement.

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At Putteridge High School we value oracy and we believe that oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language. In school, we see oracy as a vital tool for learning; by teaching students to become more effective speakers and listeners, we empower them to understand themselves better, each other and the world around them.

We are a Voice 21 Oracy Centre of Excellence 2024

We are proud to have been recognised as a Voice 21 Oracy Centre of Excellence for our work in developing students oracy (speaking and listening) skills.

Being accredited as a Voice 21 Centre of Excellence certifies and celebrates that we are leading the way in providing a high-quality oracy education for students and acting as a beacon of good practice for over 1000 schools nationwide.

In Voice 21 Oracy Schools, students learn the oracy skills they need to succeed in school
and in life.



Why Oracy matters?

By teaching students to become effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better
understand themselves, each other and the world around them.

  • Speaking and listening skills are critical foundations for reading and writing.
  • Students with better oral language skills are more likely to achieve the highest grades
    in GCSE Maths and English.
  • Young people with good communication skills are less likely to have mental health

As a Voice 21 Oracy Centre of Excellence, we put oracy at the heart of our teaching and
learning across all subject areas, enabling students to develop and deepen their knowledge
and understanding through talk in the classroom.

We support our students to become articulate communicators who are able to present
themselves confidently across a range of settings and contexts, from group discussions to
formal presentations.

In Voice 21 Oracy Schools:

  • 89% of students agree/strongly agree that speaking and listening has helped them
    make progress with their school work.
  • 77% of teachers said that oracy had boosted attainment.
  • 96% of teachers said that oracy is an essential part of teaching and learning.
    Find out more about oracy and Voice 21 here


Why do we choose oracy? 


The case for oracy in schools is becoming increasingly recognised and PHS is working with Voice 21 to explicitly look at how learning to talk and through talk are better understood. The benefits, now evidenced, show that oracy is the key to unlocking attainment; close an equity gap, prepare students for adult life or perhaps realise a deeply rooted commitment to children as agents of change. 

At PHS we have a strong desire to build students’ personal confidence as they go out into the wider world and one way we do this is to encourage the students to reason and use persuasive language. Moreover, one of our priorities, therefore, is to use spoken language to develop English within all lessons, particularly emphasising vocabulary and appropriate register, which interns helps your child get the best out of school through talk


Helping your child get the best out of school through talk


Time can be a factor for busy families but there are ways of being involved in your child's education without feeling overwhelmed. This can give your child far greater goals and inspire them to try their best where they can. 

Try to give encouragement and show appreciation of your child’s achievements, whether great or small, as this can help boost their confidence. Teach them basic organisation and time management skills.

Try to give feedback rather than criticism, for instance, saying ‘that didn’t seem to work’ rather than ‘you got it wrong’. Ask them where they think they went wrong and how they can improve next time. Talking can help to build confidence and talking through reflection is a great way to help build confidence, resolve any negative feelings and help students reflect on their achievements. 


Example parent talk:


  • Which lesson is your favourite lesson? 
  • Why is this your favourite lesson? 
  • Is there a piece of work that you have completed in school that you are really proud of? 
  • Can you tell me why you are proud of this piece of work? 
  • Which subject do you find the hardest to understand? 
  • What were the reasons for this? 
  • What can we do to help you outside of school with this subject?
  • What did you get in your spelling test? 
  • How do you learn your spellings? 
  • Could I help you with your spellings?


Example book talk: 


  • Was there anything you liked about this book/section of the book?
  • What especially caught your attention?
  • What would you have liked more of?
  • Was there anything you disliked about this book?
  • Were there parts that bored you?
  • Was there anything that puzzled you?
  • Was there anything you thought strange?
  • Was there anything that you’d never found in a book before?
  • Was there anything that took you completely by surprise?
  • Did you notice any apparent inconsistencies?
  • Were there any patterns-any connections- that you noticed?