Drama and oracy are part of the National Curriculum under the programme of study for English. However, the National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum.

What is Oracy? Oracy is the process through which children learn to talk confidently, appropriately and sensitively. Children learn through talk, deepening their understanding through discussion with their peers and teachers. Good communication is a skill that you need to learn, it’s not something that always happens naturally. At Abbey Farm Educate Together, oracy is at the heart of our curriculum and embedded in our teaching of all subjects. We want every child at Abbey Farm to find their voice and the confidence to express themselves, regardless of their background. Effective communication skills are essential for students to succeed in both school and later life.

Oracy is…

  • Engaging with other’s ideas
  • Reasoning together
  • Listening to understand
  • Changing people’s minds
  • Telling compelling stories
  • Developing arguments
  • Expressing yourself
  • Using body language and controlling voice to convey meaning
  • Use of appropriate vocabulary choice
  • Speaking up for what you believe in

Why does oracy underpin our whole curriculum at Abbey Farm Educate Together?

Developing skills in oracy…


  • Enhances self-esteem and confidence, and reduces anxiety
  • Deepens understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas.
  • Develops reasoning skills
  • Develops the ability and empowers children to debate important social and global issues
  • Improves the ability to manage differences with others
  • Underpins the development of reading and writing


How do we teach oracy?


  • Structured dialogue during lessons, where students are encouraged to participate verbally and given space and time to reflect upon and discuss complex ideas
  • Children encouraged to explain and discuss their own learning
  • Plentiful opportunities for paired and small group work
  • Opportunities for children to give verbal feedback to their peers
  • Opportunities to present their work in a range of ways to a class audience
  • Teaching and modelling listening and turn taking skills
  • Using spoken activities to develop writing skills, e.g., learning to retell a story aloud before innovating it to create their own
  • Learning and performing poetry
  • Teaching of vocabulary and grammar
  • Texts are discussed during reading lessons and children experience Book Talk
  • In Maths, children are taught to explain their reasoning
  • Our Learn Together Curriculum poses big questions which immediately spark discussion in classrooms. Children are encouraged to consider and debate school, local and global issues. Our Learn Together lessons also teach children how to communicate respectively and considerately
  • During science lessons, children are encouraged to orally predict, explain their theories using scientific vocabulary and to question their predictions and the results of experiments
  • Reception is the start of our pupils’ oracy journey through school. Communication is a prime area of learning. Staff encourage oracy through scaffolding conversations in the learning environment and during class discussions, and by sharing, discussing, acting out and retelling stories
  • Pupil Voice: Children have the opportunity to attend Rights Council and Eco Council meetings where they express the views of their class, listen respectfully and discuss and plan actions




The practice of drama enables children to develop oracy skills and promotes language development. It encourages children to learn actively and interactively across the curriculum.


What are the benefits of drama?


  • Children develop confidence when speaking
  • Their vocabulary is extended when they adopt roles and characters
  • Children respond positively to this imaginative and multisensory style of learning. Drama activities are fun and memorable!
  • It develops skills that include creativity, enquiry, communication, empathy, self-confidence, and cooperation
  • It encourages children to understand and express different points of view
  • Children are enabled to express their understanding of the roles, events or situations they have experienced
  • Drama is ideal for cross-curricular learning and is a valuable tool for use in many subject areas
  • It motivates children to write for a range of purposes


What will drama look like at Abbey Farm Educate Together?


  • In Reception, the imaginative role-play area and other play situations provide opportunities for our youngest children to develop their early drama skills and knowledge. Pretending to be others in imagined situations and acting out situations or stories help them to develop an understanding of themselves and the wider world
  • Drama activities are used widely in English lessons but also across other areas of the curriculum
  • Drama activities might include hot-seating, teacher in role, writing in role, freeze frames, story circles, acting out scenes, soundscapes, devising scenes, presenting in role
  • Children are encouraged to become increasingly aware of their audience and act out stories using voice, movement, gesture and basic sound effects
  • Learn Together Curriculum: Drama can provide a safe context to explore issues, ideas and dilemmas relevant to children’s lives
  • Taking part in performances throughout their time at Abbey Farm ET, which include local Swindon events as well as further afield.


The Oracy Framework