Oracy Progression of Skills and Knowledge

Oracy Progression of Skills and Knowledge

With speaking and listening at the heart of our curriculum, we are committed to building and embedding a culture of oracy. We want every child at Derwent Vale Primary School to find their voice. Speaking and listening develops pupils' confidence, articulacy and capacity to learn. Providing a high-quality oracy education empowers students, regardless of their background, to find their voice for success in school and in life.


Our aim is to remove communication barriers and enable students to be confident and effective communicators at the end of primary school. We seek to provide classrooms rich in talk, in which questions are planned, peer conversations are modelled and scaffolded and the teacher uses talk skilfully to develop thinking. We provide a variety of opportunities for young people to develop confidence in talk and learn how to analyse and talk about talk. By teaching children oracy skills, we enable them to increase confidence in talk within school and equip them for their future.

The deliberate, explicit and systematic teaching of oracy across phases and throughout the curriculum will support children to make progress in the four strands of oracy: Physical, Cognitive, Linguistic and Social and Emotional.


Approaches to teaching and learning encourage pupils to voice their ideas in small group and class discussions, as we recognise that sharing and explaining concepts with peers enhances learning. Staff model the use of higher-level vocabulary within their speech and expanding children’s vocabulary is a key focus from EYFS. Subject specific vocabulary is embedded across the curriculum, through teacher modelling, in context. Contextual learning helps children to understand new words and supports them in including them in their work.

Our speaking and listening curriculum is broad, balanced and is utilised and promoted within each lesson and across all subjects. We ensure that all children have the opportunity to develop and learn spoken language as outlined in the National Curriculum and the Early Years framework. Oracy involves engaging with ideas, reasoning together, listening to understand, changing people’s minds, telling compelling stories, developing arguments, expressing yourself and speaking up for what you believe in. Our children are 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.


By the end of Early Years, children should be able to speak audibly so they can be heard and understood; use gestures to support meaning in play; make relevant contributions and asks questions and describe events that have happened to them in detail. They will use talk in play to practice new vocabulary; join phrases with words such as ‘if’, ‘because’ ‘so’ ‘could’ ‘but’; look at someone who is speaking to them and take turns to speak when working in a group.

By the end of Key Stage 1, children will also speak fluently; read aloud with appropriate intonation; provide descriptions; communicate feelings and provide a simple explanation. They will become increasingly aware that people use different kinds of speech in different circumstances. They will listen; respond; discuss and debate as well as gain the interest of the listener. They will be able to use spoken language and newly introduced topic words to explore ideas, imagine, make guesses and predict; participate in discussion about books and poems, taking turns and listening to what others say. They will use drama and role-play to develop understanding of characters and events and order ideas for writing and recite some poems by heart.

By the end of Key Stage 2, children will speak fluently in front of an audience; have a stage presence; consciously adapt tone, pace and volume of voice within a single situation information; construct a detailed argument or complex narrative and spontaneously respond to increasingly complex questions, citing evidence where appropriate. They will also vary sentence structures and length for effect when speaking; comfortably use idiom, expressions and humour effectively and be able to read a room or a group and take action accordingly.