Boosting confidence and oracy in Stoke-on-Trent schools

How ESB has benefited the children of Stoke

ESB’s work in partnership with Stoke began in 2014, and our relationship since then really has gone from strength to strength – with many of Stoke’s schools now seeing the benefit of ESB’s specialised Oracy assessments, and showing their faith in our proven results, at a time when school funding is at a premium.

What began at a Stoke-wide Ofsted literacy conference, where ESB was invited to share the impact on literacy of good oral communication skills, has culminated in numerous schools in the city now reaping the benefits of ESB assessments for their pupils, with over 4,000 Stoke learner’s assessed in the last three years alone.

At the start of our journey with Stoke, the Local Authority was so impressed with the results of our pilot projects that they offered match funding to every school in Stoke wishing to include ESB assessments as part of their offer. We are delighted that most of the schools that took assessments supported by that match funding have stayed with ESB, running assessments for a second, third or, in some cases, fourth year in 2018.

ESB’s commitment to improving oracy in Stoke remains strong, and we continue to work with our Stoke schools to ensure that their pupils develop life-changing skills with the support of our accredited assessments. ESB continues to run Stoke-specific incentives to help schools to continue to work with us.

Of course, the best advertisement for ESB comes from the schools themselves, and we continue to see new Stoke schools registering with us year on year. ESB works with other LEAs, School Improvement agencies and Opportunity Areas, all of which have been impressed with our work in Stoke.

Two of our longest-standing Stoke schools, a Primary and a Secondary who have been with us since ESB was piloted in the area, have this to say about ESB:

ESB gives us a qualification to work towards to really focus on the speaking skills- they would doubtless be pushed to the side otherwise. It gives students a platform for airing their views. – (Thistley Hough School)

ESB helps us to increase skills for employability, and increase confidence for our children through communication skills. – (Oakhill Primary)

To find out more about ESB and the work we have done in Stoke, please click here.

ESB Logo

May 2016

Following a successful pilot scheme, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is the first local authority in the country to provide match funding for the teaching of English Speaking Board (ESB) qualifications in its schools.

ESB qualifications encourage children to develop clear, effective communication by providing high quality assessments. They focus on encouragement and recognise the potential of all. Additionally, the Graded Examinations meet the statutory requirements for Spoken Language in the new National Curriculum and have proven achievement in hundreds of schools in the UK and around the world.

Councillor Janine Bridges, cabinet member for education and economy, said:

We are rolling-out the pilot scheme after the results from working with ESB proved universally positive. Our findings show that pupils from primary to secondary school have benefited from the experience and it has led to increased attainment in their speaking and listening skills. We will be match-funding ESB external assessments for pupils in Year 5, 6 and 7. The programme is a great benefit for those schools looking to improve spoken language in their curriculum.

ESB’s Chief Executive Officer, Tina Renshaw, said:

Stoke’s forward-thinking approach to giving its children and young people better communications skills through ESB qualifications is an incredible opportunity and we are absolutely delighted to be playing such an important role in this initiative. We know our qualifications boost confidence and improve speaking and listening skills and I look forward to seeing great progress from pupils and students.

Margaret Yates, Executive Headteacher of St Gregory’s and St Maria Goretti Catholic Academies, praised the success of ESB, which has been in place for the last two years;

It has been a long-held ambition of mine to give our pupils the chance to access ESB. We have seen standards rise significantly in early years in both schools, whilst the debating qualification resulted in 60% of our pupils achieving a merit.

Birches Head Academy piloted some of ESB’s exams for older children and recorded equal success. Amy Orlando, Head of English said:

Our school brought in ESB to support children through the Speaking and Listening element of their English GCSE. I have been amazed by how quickly our students have developed and it is completely down to ESB that they have built up these skills.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council will be launching the new scheme to local schools at The Britannia Stadium on 6 June 2016.

Sarah Preston, Head of the School Improvement Team, said:

This will be an invaluable opportunity for teachers to find out more about ESB and how it will benefit pupils in our schools.

Tina Renshaw, said:

A full and busy day at the Britannia Stadium on Monday, 6th June will showcase how we work and how we support teachers and their students. Our conference will include interactive workshops and opportunities for headteachers and their colleagues to ask questions and hear about our free training which will allow teaching staff to make the most of this opportunity.

Learning Oracy Speech

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