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Speaking out in Stoke-on-Trent

ESB began a special relationship with Stoke of Trent Schools in 2014. The initiative followed an approach by Stoke Education Authority, which was looking at ways of improving oracy in its schools. Since then, our relationship with Stoke Local Education Agency (LEA), teachers and learners has gone from strength to strength. Following the pilot scheme, ESB’s innovative project has led to 39 Stoke schools registering as ESB centres.

ESB’s Chief Executive, Tina Renshaw, says:

Schools in Stoke-on-Trent are trailblazing the inclusion of ESB into the school curriculum and the results are already paying off. Working with the LEA, we are proud of the progress we are making with Stoke learners. It reinforces how much improved oracy skills can make a difference in state schools.


Initially, schools took advantage of a match-funding offer by the LEA allowing them to experience ESB Speech assessments, from Early Steps to the Senior Proficiency and more challenging Debating qualifications.

ESB’s work with Stoke aims to give confidence to learners who need additional support and encouragement, and allows the most able pupils to enhance their current skill set, giving them a clear advantage as they progress into secondary schools, FE colleges, and employment.

Rob Johnstone, Stoke LEA’s Interim Assistant Director of Learning and Services, says:

It has been a delight to see first-hand the fruition of our partnership with ESB, and I firmly believe that it has accelerated the progress of our pupils, preparing them for further education and the world of work which lies ahead.

Rob Johnstone at the 2017 ESB Stoke Schools’ Conference at Stoke’s Bet365 Stadium

Learning Oracy Social Mobility Speech