The Personal Development curriculum provides great opportunities for students to develop their oracy through discussion about the topics we cover. Indeed the importance of oracy has been underscored in the new update to the EEF’s T&L Toolkit which includes new strand on oral language, which when done well, has scope to have a high impact on pupil outcomes of up 6 months’ additional progress.

In honour of this important part of our pedagogy I have trialed 4 ideas within my lessons that all involve oracy and relate to the 4 strands of the Great teaching and learning framework. I continue to experiment with the impactfulness of these bite-sized bright ideas but hopefully they provide exemplification of the different stands and prompt you to consider how oracy can be prioritised in your classroom.

Strand 1 – Curriculum – ​We did this last year.’

The Personal Development curriculum has been written to spiral so that students get opportunities to revisit learning and progress in their understanding (like all good curricula), however, sometimes the students see the same major themes or the same content and switch off because ​we did this last year.” To overcome this, start each lesson with a cover slide (link below) that gets students recapping, making links and seeing how little they remember! Then take time explaining how this content builds on what they did last year – hopefully it will stop the moaning and get them engaged! See here:


Stand 2 – Relationships – ​My students don’t talk/​listen to each other.’

I have noticed that my older Personal Development classes are pretty poor at staying on task during peer discussion so I am experimenting with different ideas to improve this. One of these is called ​Talk first and last’. Give discussion avoiders the challenge of talking first and last in a pair/​a group and ask their partner to feedback their thoughts to the class. Make it clear before the discussion that partners who can not summarise the views of their peer will be consequenced (if it is because of lack of effort) and those who are successful will be rewarded.

Stand 3 – Opportunities – ​My class don’t talk.’

We all know that you sometimes get a very quiet class but for Personal Development this can be problematic as oracy is essential for effective assessment. Why not create a talking with confidence checklist? Explain the importance of talk in effective assessment in Personal Development and create a tick list of talk challenges e.g. Talk to one other person, talk in a group, talk in front of the class etc. that students must try to complete in a term. Give points to students that achieve the most ticks.

Stand 4 – Long Term learning – ​What does this mean(assessment terminology)?’

Last year I received feedback from staff that students struggled to understand some of the terminology used in the Personal Development assessment so I have created this break down of assessment terminology that can be shared with students. You could do this now so the students are clear on what they are aiming to learn in this major theme or wait until the end of the first major theme when going through the assessment process. See here: