Speaking Skills and Oracy in Schools

In a bold move to address a crucial aspect of education, Sir Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party in the UK, has emphasised the significance of speaking skills in children’s lives. Recognising that poor speaking abilities can hinder career prospects, interpersonal relationships, and societal participation, Starmer has pledged to prioritize oracy in Labour’s education reform agenda. His commitment includes the introduction of a new national curriculum focused on enhancing children’s vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, listening skills, and active participation in discussions.  Let’s discuss the significance of speaking skills, why they should be included in education, and the potential effects of Starmer’s proposed reforms.

Why Speaking Skills Matter

Sir Keir Starmer rightly acknowledges that speaking skills go beyond mere presentation abilities. The capacity to express oneself clearly, confidently, and persuasively is an essential skill that enables individuals to thrive in various scenarios, including job interviews, social interactions, and day-to-day communication. Articulating thoughts fluently is not only a means of self-expression but also a critical aspect of personal and professional development.

The Neglected Skillset

Despite the undeniable significance of speaking skills, they are often overlooked in traditional classroom settings. Curriculum focuses primarily on written communication, leaving oral expression as an underdeveloped area. This neglect can lead to a lack of confidence, limited opportunities for collaboration, and an inability to effectively engage in conversations. By prioritizing speaking skills, Starmer aims to bridge this gap and provide all children with equal opportunities to develop their oratory abilities.

The Proposed Reforms

Sir Keir Starmer’s proposal includes the introduction of a new national curriculum for speaking and listening. This curriculum will address key aspects necessary for effective oral communication, such as vocabulary enrichment, grammar proficiency, pronunciation clarity, and active listening skills. By integrating these elements into the core curriculum, Labour’s education reforms strive to equip students with the necessary tools to succeed not only academically but also in their future endeavours.

Expert Support

Education experts have welcomed Starmer’s emphasis on speaking skills. They recognize that strong oracy skills empower children to excel in multiple facets of life. The ability to express oneself fluently and confidently opens doors to employment opportunities, fosters meaningful relationships, and enhances overall social participation. By acknowledging the importance of speaking skills, Starmer aligns with the expert consensus and highlights an area that requires attention and improvement.

Sir Keir Starmer’s commitment to putting speaking skills at the heart of education reform reflects a much-needed shift in focus within the education system. By introducing a new national curriculum for speaking and listening, Labour aims to ensure that all children have equal access to the development of these crucial skills. As speaking skills become embedded in the core curriculum, children will be better prepared to communicate effectively, thrive in their personal and professional lives, and contribute actively to society. Sir Keir Starmer’s vision for education reform offers a promising step towards equipping the next generation with the tools they need to succeed in an increasingly interconnected world.