St Joseph's Rotherhithe


Oracy at St. Joseph’s

What is Oracy?

Oracy is our ability to communicate effectively using spoken language. Oracy is to speech what literacy is to writing and numeracy is to maths.

 It is the ability to express yourself effectively - to speak eloquently, articulate ideas and thoughts, influence through talking, listen to others and have the confidence to express your views. These are all fundamental skills that support success in both learning and life beyond school.

Why is Oracy important in St. Joseph’s?

In St. Joseph’s, oracy is a vital tool for learning; by teaching our children to become more effective speakers and listeners we empower them to better understand themselves, each other and the world around them.  We believe spoken language to be essential in the development and achievement of our children across every subject in the curriculum. Oracy is also linked to improvements in reading, writing, and overall attainment in all subjects.

What does it look like in St. Joseph’s?

We develop spoken language skills through our curriculum and our wider curricular offer. Children are taught how to be effective communicators in all lessons as oracy is a focus and a high priority in all subjects in St. Joseph’s. Modelling and the teaching of accurate spoken language and development of vocabulary is fundamental to the learning in our school. We aim to develop and encourage fluent speakers, with rich vocabulary, who are confident to contribute in school or in other situations.  We are working with Noisy Classrooms this year to develop oracy across our school and embed a debate club in KS2. 


In St. Joseph's we refer to the Oracy Framework to support our planning:

the oracy framework .pdf


Oracy across the Curriculum at St. Joseph’s


Oracy is essential for the development of communication and argumentation skills, which are key to successful English learning. Oracy has also been shown to be an essential part of literacy skills and reading comprehension. - Voice 21

English lessons are enriched with a dedicated focus on Oracy, a powerful tool employed across all year groups to nurture comprehensive language development. Through Oracy, students refine their utilisation of standard English, sentence structure and syntax, fostering a deeper understanding of language. This approach not only empowers children to articulate their thoughts and ideas, but also encourages them to consider diverse perspectives, especially when engaging in the construction of balanced arguments.

Oracy plays a pivotal role in expanding vocabulary, a cornerstone for proficient reading and writing. In our classrooms, we employ dynamic methods such as Book Talk, Readers’ Theatre, and performance reading to fortify essential reading skills, including vocabulary acquisition, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, and summarisation.

Oral rehearsal is utilised for sentence practice and rephrasing, honing grammar, meaning, and composition. Moreover, students are equipped with a diverse set of skills for individual, pair, group, and class-based activities, including presentations, speaking engagements, poetry performances, and reading aloud. Through structured practices like think pair share, argument tennis, debates and role-play, students engage in immersive learning experiences, fostering a rich environment for the development of crucial language and communication skills throughout their time at school.

Progression of Skills

st josephs oracy progression.pdf

Exploratory Talk Sentence Stems

ks1 exploratory sentence stems.pdf

ks2 exploratory sentence stems.pdf

Book Talk sentence Stems

book talk sentence stems.pdf

Readers' Theatre

ks2 lit readers theatre.pdf



Oracy is essential for maths attainment because students must learn to justify their conclusions and communicate and respond to the arguments of others. A growing body of evidence indicates that there is a strong link between participating in mathematical conversations and improved maths attainment. 

In St. Joseph’s STEM sentences are embedded throughout our daily Maths lessons for three key reasons:


  • They improve children's oracy skills and challenge them to widen their mathematical vocabulary;
  • They provide opportunities for our children to communicate their ideas with mathematical precision and clarity (through accurate vocabulary).  This will then improve their ability to explain their reasoning and show their depth of understanding, ultimately allowing them to question/teach one another effectively.
  • They structure key mathematical ideas or generalities, providing a framework which embeds knowledge and builds deeper understanding.

 There are a number of different ways in which STEM sentences are used within our Maths lessons:


STEM Sentence 1

 I Say, You Say, We All Say

 If the rectangle is the whole, the shaded part is one third of the whole.

 The STEM sentence is modelled.  Children are then chosen to repeat the STEM sentence, before everyone says the sentence together.  The repetition of a key concept helps children to embed mathematical knowledge.


STEM Sentence 2

 Complete the Sentence

 Example: Which is the largest decimal number?   0.001    0.01    0.1

 The largest decimal number is ___.  I know this because ___.


STEM Sentence 3


 There are 12 stars.  One third of the stars is equal to 4 stars.

 Children are to vary key parts within the modelled STEM sentence to create a new STEM sentence of their own.


STEM Sentence 4

 Create a Generalisation/Rule

 When adding 10 to a number, the ones digit stays the same. 

 The STEM sentence is modelled.  Children repeat the sentence, as the repetition of a generalisation/rule helps to embed mathematical concepts.


STEM Sentence 5


 Children complete the STEM sentences below to explain the thoughts and reasons behind their answer.

 I noticed that ___ so ____.

 The answer can’t be ___ because ____.  Therefore, the answer must be ___.

 I already know that ____ so ____.


 The expectation within every Maths lessons is that our children  speak in full sentences, explaining their thoughts, methods and connections in order to prove the accuracy of their responses.


 Oracy in science classrooms is essential for helping students learn to justify and explain their ideas, which is a critical part of science communication.  - Voice 21



Oracy plays a crucial role in Religious Education lessons at St. Joseph's, serving as a powerful tool to extend and deepen children's knowledge and understanding of core Catholic values and virtues. The emphasis on effective spoken communication aligns with the school's commitment to developing well-rounded individuals who can articulate their thoughts, engage in meaningful dialogue, and contribute confidently to discussions.

Integration of Oracy in Religious Education:

  1. Expressing Catholic Values: Oracy allows children to express and articulate Catholic values and virtues through spoken language. They learn to communicate their understanding of concepts such as Kindness, respect, and love, fostering a deeper connection to the core principles of our Catholic faith.
  2. Interactive Learning: Through oracy, children engage in interactive and collaborative learning experiences. Group discussions, peer-to-peer conversations, and verbal reflections provide opportunities for them to share their interpretations of Catholic teachings and learn from one another.
  3. Confident Expression of Faith: Oracy instils confidence in children to express their beliefs and faith openly. The ability to speak eloquently about religious topics enhances their capacity to share their faith with others, and engage in meaningful conversations about spiritual matters.
  4. Listening and Understanding: Oracy not only involves speaking but also emphasises active listening. Children learn to listen attentively to their peers, teachers, and external speakers, fostering a deeper understanding of religious concepts and promoting empathy and tolerance. This also includes listening to, reflecting on and living out the Gospel values.
  5. Debating and Exploring Theology: The integration of a debate club in Key Stage 2, Fr TesfaMichael’s weekly visits and prayer club further enhances oracy skills. The additional activities give children the opportunity to explore theological questions, discuss different perspectives, and develop critical thinking skills related to their faith.


Dialogue for humanities involves discussion of complex social ideas and issues which revolve around moral values and differing perspectives. As such, the use of oracy in humanities classrooms concerns approaching disagreement through joint reasoning and argumentation. -Voice 21

Oracy is at the core of History at St. Joseph’s; discussion and debate sharpen thinking skills and promote understanding. As we teach history through enquiry, the children question evidence, bring together knowledge of different kinds to form arguments and need to be able to defend and adapt their arguments when presented with new evidence. Through oracy, we practise and hone our historical literacy and thinking skills.

We give children opportunities to develop their oracy through:

  • Sentence stems
  • Problem-solving and defending conclusions reached
  • Group discussion to test meaning and refine ideas
  • Asking children to pose questions, to predict, to raise doubts
  • Explaining their thinking processes and ideas
  • Evaluating their own learning



Dialogue for humanities involves discussion of complex social ideas and issues which revolve around moral values and differing perspectives. As such, the use of oracy in humanities classrooms concerns approaching disagreement through joint reasoning and argumentation. -Voice 21

 Oracy in Geography is a powerful tool for learning. We aim to enhance our oracy skills through sentence stems to question, explain and discuss. This provides pupils with the structure needed to articulate their observations and understanding. By promoting oracy in geography, children are able to convey their geographical knowledge effectively.

We give children opportunities to develop their oracy through:

  • Sentence stems
  • Planning and carrying out field-work
  • Group discussion to test meaning and refine ideas
  • Asking children to pose questions, to predict, to raise doubts
  • Explaining their own thinking processes and ideas
  • Being able to articulate opposing views to their own
  • Evaluating their own learning.


At St. Joseph's, we recognise the transformative power of oracy in the context of music education. By integrating principles from Voice 21, an organisation dedicated to promoting effective spoken communication, we elevate our music lessons to not only teach musical terms and skills but also to deepen children's comprehension and connection with the world of music.

Oracy becomes a channel for expressing interpretations of fundamental musical terms such as tempo, dynamics, and pitch, enabling children to articulate their insights with confidence. Through active dialogue, children not only share their experiences playing recorded music but also engage in reflections on live instrument performances, fostering a deeper connection to the art.

Oracy extends to the exploration of tonalities, with children using their voices to experiment with and understand various musical tones. In class group discussions, facilitated by oracy skills, encourage exploration of diverse musical styles, broadening children's musical horizons. Moreover, oracy becomes a tool for crafting narratives around musical compositions, allowing children to express the emotions and stories conveyed through the music.

The use of oracy extends to practical applications, including playing recorders (KS2) and both tuned and untuned instruments (KS1). Children discuss challenges, triumphs, and discoveries related to their instrumental experiences, enhancing their technical proficiency and fostering a collaborative learning environment.

Furthermore, oracy plays a vital role in vocal education, where children discuss and refine singing techniques. This integrated approach ensures that oracy is woven into every aspect of our music curriculum, providing a holistic and enriching musical education that extends beyond technical skills to encompass a deep and meaningful connection to the world of music.

Art and Design

Art projects allow children to provide running commentaries of their work as their ideas materialise on the paper in front of them. Children engaged in creative processes will often offer evaluative comments of their own work and those around them; using oral communication to verbalise their imaginative thoughts, suggesting improvements and giving praise, working through problems and fixing their mistakes. –Voice 21

Oracy is the heartbeat of Art and Design at St Joseph’s; collaborative discussions and reflective chatter form the foundation for sharpening thinking skills and deepening understanding. Guided by the principles of creative expression, our approach to teaching Art and Design encourages children to question, evaluate, and adapt their ideas in the midst of artistic creation. Through oracy, we cultivate not only artistic literacy but also critical thinking skills, providing a space for self-evaluation and constant learning.

We give children opportunities to develop their oracy through:

  • Sentence stems
  • Group discussions
  • Talking about their own work and developing their ideas
  • Evaluating the work of others
  • Articulating their learning
  • Providing ‘next steps’ and suggestions to others


Design and Technology

Oracy is the driving force of Design and Technology at St Joseph’s; collaborative discussions and reflective talk lay the groundwork for honing thinking skills and enriching understanding. Rooted in the principles of creative problem-solving, our approach to teaching Design and Technology empowers children to question, assess, and adapt their ideas during the process of practical creation. Through oracy, we foster not only technical literacy but also critical thinking skills, establishing a realm for self-evaluation and ongoing learning.

We give children opportunities to develop their oracy through:

  • Sentence stems
  • Group discussions
  • Talking about their own work and developing their ideas
  • Problem solving
  • Articulating their learning
  • Presenting their ideas