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Christopher Hatton

Oracy at christopher hatton


Our aim is for all pupils to be informed, articulate and empowered. Christopher Hatton is a ‘talk rich’ school: talk is central to our curriculum and to the way our pupils learn. Pupils learn through talk and learn to talk at Christopher Hatton. We believe oracy (the ability to communicate effectively) is a central means of extending pupils’ linguistic, social, emotional and cognitive development; it is key to the progress and attainment of all pupils. We believe that strong oracy skills can enhance pupils’ lives by providing them with the cultural capital they need to succeed, both within and beyond the school gates. This has enormous potential for addressing social disadvantage. Pupils at Christopher Hatton can engage thoughtfully and actively with big ideas - ‘Hattoneers’ understand that they have the right for their voices to be heard. 


  • Pupils learn how to talk effectively for different contexts
  • Group discussion skills are taught explicitly from EYFS to Y6
  • Metacognition (where children reflect on their thinking andlearning) is fundamental to helping pupils understand the importance of oracy in their lives


  • Pupils are equipped with the skills to listen actively, speak confidently and challenge ideas respectfully
  • Pupils are taught to speak for different purposes and audiences through our curriculum
  • Group discussion actively engages pupils in the development of their own knowledge and understanding through purposeful interaction with their peers
  • Talk is elevated in all aspects of our school life – be it the daily mental maths session, book groups, EYFS news or whole-school assemblies


  • We spotlight effective orators who reflect the diversity of our community. This enables pupils to see themselves within public life and supports their belief that they too can be great leaders and change-makers
  • Whole-school oracy events provide high-status, motivating opportunities for children to talk with real purpose
  • The focus on having a growth mind-set is essential in the teaching of oracy empowering children with the confidence to have a go and to keep trying and improving


  • The Oracy Toolkit developed at Christopher Hatton provides guidance, and quality expectations, to support the progressive development of talk across each key stage.
  • Purposeful, rich opportunities for talk are planned across the across all subject areas and in all year groups starting with Reception ‘Hoop Groups’ to Y6 debates
  • Teachers use a four-strand framework (linguistic, physical, cognitive and social & emotional) to identify, plan and teach ‘small steps to mastery’ with oracy skills taught explicitly alongside subject knowledge
  • Key vocabulary is identified in all subject schemes of work; vocabulary is taught consistently across the school at the start of the week and activated throughout the week to achieve ‘word depth’
  • Classroom ‘Group Talk’ displays help pupils understand what good group talk and listening ‘look like’ as they progress through the school
  • All pupils’ including those who have SEND or are disadvantaged are supported through the use sentence stems, explicit vocabulary teaching and high-quality adult models
  • Early language development and intervention in EYFS and Y1 is prioritised in the through structured oracy programmes ‘Talk Boost’ or ‘Time to Talk’ in partnership with UCL
  • Staff team regularly undertake collaborative projects and carry out active research. Our ongoing ‘Maths Talk in the Early Years’ has widely shared in NCETM hubs by our NCETM Mastery and PD lead
  • Teachers are trained and highly-skilled in the implementation of oracy; whole-school CPD has prioritised oracy for a number of years. The oracy lead has lead CPD beyond the school for The Unicorn Theatre and Camden Learning Oracy Hub
  • Our English curriculum identifies purposeful opportunities for presentational talk so that skills build on what has been taught before and pupils can work towards clearly defined high quality outcomes as they progress through the school
  • Drama is a key tool and provides opportunities for children to speak for different purposes and in different imaginary contexts. Drama is central to our English curriculum
  • Assemblies incorporate opportunities for discussion of ideas; these are further developed in specific oracy assemblies in which pairs of classes work together to explore the power of talk.
  • Regular opportunities for performance are provided, including: class assemblies, school shows and the Earth Summit


  • Children at Christopher Hatton are confident speakers and active listeners; they understand how to use their skills to deepen their learning and communicate their understanding
  • Teachers at Christopher Hatton have high expectations for oracy and are confident planning effective learning journeys which demonstrate good understanding and opportunities for rich, purposeful talk
  • Children demonstrate ‘word depth’ and are able to say, read and write key vocabulary to support communicate of subject knowledge
  • Standards in oracy are high as demonstrated by pupils’ ability to communicate effectively
  • In 2019, our oracy teaching was awarded: ‘Area of Excellence’ by Challenge Partners and led to Christopher Hatton providing support to other schools.
  • Our expertise, built through working partnerships with The Unicorn Theatre, Oracy Cambridge and Voice 21, and through our contribution to the leadership of the Camden Learning Oracy Hub 2017-2019, has been widely shared and its positive impact evaluated by Professor Neil Mercer.