Specialist vocabulary sits at the heart of our academic curriculum and combines with our focus on oracy throughout the school to provide our students with the language and confidence to have their voice heard.
Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language, and spoken language skills are one of the strongest predictors of a child’s future life chances but too many children are not given the opportunity to develop these crucial skills.
Becoming a Voice 21 school in 2021 cemented our commitment to transforming teaching and learning across the school, enabling all students to access and benefit from a high-quality oracy education where they are encouraged and supported to learn through talk and to talk. In April 2021, the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) published its final report from the Speak for Change Inquiry which highlighted the significant impact of the pandemic on the already marked spoken ‘language gap’ between disadvantaged students and their peers. At Meden School, all students are met with the belief that they can be equipped and empowered to communicate effectively and thrive as life-long learners who can explore ideas through talk, challenge beliefs and present reasoned arguments, and articulate themselves confidently in productive and respectful relationships between all who form our community, and beyond. A sustained and comprehensive focus on oracy, matched with vocabulary needed for effective oracy, will remove barriers for all students.
At Meden School, we all work hard to shape our verbal communications, contributions and conversations. SHAPE is used throughout the school to lay the foundations of high expectations with regard to speaking using tier 2 and tier 3 words, keeping hands away from mouths to communicate clearly and confidently, articulating and projecting voices, and to make eye contact with audiences. As a Voice 21 membership school, an oracy framework outlines 4 strands of oracy that are used as a basis for planning, designing, modelling, scaffolding and structuring talk in the classroom: physical, linguistic, cognitive and social and emotional. Staff and students recognise that oracy can be developed beyond the classroom, too, to develop fluent speakers who can confidently articulate their ideas in a range of contexts to a variety of audiences.
Oracy at Meden is not a programme to be completed one year and gone the next, or an extracurricular endeavour for a select few, but rather an essential facet of an effective, empowering and expansive curriculum.
In lessons we expect our students to SHAPE their answers and speech: