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Speaking and Listening

Speaking and Listening


Speaking and listening is integral to all of the interactions, relationships and learning that takes place in William Austin Infant School. It is woven into every moment of the day. We develop children’s speaking and listening skills right from the very moment that they arrive. We aim to provide children with the oracy skills that they need for life, enabling them to advocate for themselves with confidence, share and communicate their feelings and needs whilst expressing their knowledge and understanding. The skills we teach will help children to participate fully in society and their communities. We know the importance of talk when learning, contemplating new ideas or presenting to an audience with purpose. We support children to learn to talk, but also aim to help them learn through their talk.  It happens all day every day and is never left to chance.


Our ‘Speak to Succeed’ steps ensure that we have an agreed, consistent approach to talk across the school.



Using these structured steps helps children to understand the focus of the discussion or talk. Each step is explained, practised and mastered in a number of different subjects and scenarios.


Each opportunity for talk has a purpose that the teacher decides upon. We use different grouping structures including pairs, groups and whole class. These are regularly changed and used. Talk is modelled clearly by the adults in school and scaffolded through the pre-teaching of vocabulary and sentence stems to support grammar. In Year R children have weekly chatterbox sessions where sentence stems and picture vocabulary cues are used. This helps to support and develop independence in their weekly writing. Through purposeful play-based interactions, both in the indoor and outdoor environment, the EYFS curriculum is designed to share children’s attention, respond to verbal and non-verbal cues, expand on points made and develop meaningful conversations.


This continues into the KS1 curriculum where vocabulary is carefully introduced through our 541 vocabulary progressions (see example below), and every lesson includes a ‘vocabulary star’ focusing on the vocabulary children will hear and use. Our English curriculum is designed using a Talk for Writing approach, which uses signs for key vocabulary and plenty of talk opportunities.


Some children will need more time and support to develop their oracy skills. These opportunities are provided in small groups or with 1:1 adult support. A range of adaptive strategies are used including the use of pictures, objects, colourful semantics and the BLAST program. Home language is used where possible to support children who are new to English.


Throughout their time at our school children will be provided with opportunities for exploratory talk and presentational talk. Please see the photos below to see oracy in action.