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ESB QUALIFICATION NEWS – Level 1 Speech Pathways

We are pleased to announce that our new Level 1 Speech Pathways qualification will be available from January 2021.

From January 2021, learners will be able to take the updated and improved ESB Level 1 Award in Speech (Grade 2) pathways-based qualification. Below is a short description of each pathway option:

  • Speech to Connect – This option is the existing Grade 2 assessment, which includes the following sections: Personal Interest Talk, Speaking by Heart, Reading to Listeners and Open Exchange of Ideas. It is designed to develop learners’ presentational skills and build their confidence in self-expression. In particular, it encourages learners to develop a love of literature and provides them with an opportunity to bring text to life.

In addition, the three new pathways are:

  • Speech to Inform – This option is designed to strengthen learners’ understanding of an important Key Stage 2-3 curriculum topic, as well as encouraging the development of interests in current national and local issues.
  • Speech to Perform – This option is designed to encourage learners to be creative. In particular, this pathway will give learners the opportunity to compose and perform their own self-composition.
  • Speech for Employability – This option is designed to introduce learners to the world of business and entrepreneurship. It provides learners with an opportunity to not only give a talk about a famous or successful businessperson, but also deliver a pitch for an existing or an invented product or service.   

When will the new qualification be available to book?
You will be able to make bookings from 1st November, 2020 for assessments that are due to take place from 1st January, 2021.

Can we continue to book the existing, Level 1, Grade 2 Speech qualification until then?
Yes! From this September to October 31st, you can continue to register learners for the existing one-unit ESB Level 1 Award in Speech (Grade 2) – (Ofqual number: 501/1664/2).


QualificationDates for registrationDates for assessment
Existing, one-unit Level 1 Award in SpeechSeptember 1st, 2020 – October 31st, 2020.September 1st, 2020 – December 31st, 2020
New, Level 1 Speech Pathways qualificationNovember 1st, 2020 onwardsJanuary 1st, 2021 onwards

Key points:

  • Assessments for this qualification must be booked for dates up until the end of December, 2020. Any assessments planned from January, 2021 onwards will be for the new level 1 Speech Pathways qualification.
  • Any assessments planned for November or December, 2020 on the existing, one-unit level 1 Award in Speech, must be registered by 31st October, 2020 as this qualification will be withdrawn from 1st November, 2020.

As part of the project, we will be making small amendments to the learning outcomes, assessment criteria and grading criteria of the Speech to Connect pathway in order to strengthen qualification validity. However, please note that the grade boundaries of the assessment will remain the same (e.g. Pass, Good Pass, Merit, Merit Plus and Distinction.   

You will still be able to choose the traditional route to obtain the ESB Level 1 Award in Speech (Grade 2) from January, 2021. This is the Speech to Connect pathway.

Our new and exciting pathway options are designed to advance the oracy skills of learners in a way that suits them, playing to their strengths and interests. 

Please click on the links to download a sample Qualification Specification and associated Teacher Guides for the new Speech Pathways qualification.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us by email at: product@esbuk.org or alternatively you may wish to speak to Senior Product Developer Mark Crosher on 01695 573439 (ext. 218).