2.6.21: Update to UK centres regarding remote and face-to-face assessment for the rest of the academic year


Back in 2014, ESB joined forces with Stoke-on-Trent’s Education Authority to help provide extra oracy education to school children in the city.

Following a successful pilot scheme, Stoke-on-Trent City Council provided match funding for the teaching of English Speaking Board (ESB) qualifications in its schools.

The initiative culminated in numerous schools in the city reaping the benefits of ESB assessments for their pupils, with more than 4,000 Stoke learners assessed in the last three years alone.

ESB’s commitment to improving oracy in Stoke remains strong. Its involvement supports learners to enhance their current skill set, giving them a clear advantage as they progress into secondary schools, FE colleges, and employment.

Now, ESB is supporting some of these schools with its innovative 70/70 campaign launched to mark ESB’s achievements over the past 70 years. Our 70/70 Campaign aims to find and financially support by 2023, 70 organisations where their young people or community members face disadvantage due to socio economic factors, disability or migration status and would be supported in their aspirations if they could achieve an ESB qualification.

This is not the first time that ESB has provided financial support to grant learners access to its qualifications. The Christabel Burniston Fund has supported more than 40 centres over the last three academic years and the 70/70 Campaign is an expansion on the support we already offer.

At the 2017 ESB Stoke Schools’ Conference, the LEA’s Interim Assistant Director of Learning and Services at the time, Rob Johnstone, said: “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.”

Of course, the best advertisement for ESB comes from the schools themselves! Please read what Stoke schools have to say about their ESB experience:

“ESB gives us a qualification to work towards to really focus on the speaking skills that would doubtless be ushed to the side otherwise. It gives students a platform for airing their views.” Thistley Hough Principal, Jayne Schofield.

“We are extremely happy that our students experience this – and we believe that the benefits are ones that will continue to serve them well throughout their time in the 6th form, at university and into their careers.” Tricia Rhodes Head of Sixth Form – St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy, Stoke

“The Christabel Burniston Fund has been instrumental in opening up a whole world of opportunities for young speakers at Plymouth Grove Primary School. The funding has enabled our children to realise that their voices are important, valuable instruments and essentially the key to their future in our increasingly noisy world. Oracy is now at the forefront of everything we do at Plymouth Grove and ESB has enabled the children to present, read aloud and listen with passion and spirit. All children have been immersed in spoken language and our dialogic classrooms have been enriched and supported by Christabel’s legacy.” Sarah Thompson, Oracy Lead at Plymouth Grove Primary School

“We have found completing the ESB award to be an extremely worthwhile experience for our students.  We introduced it as a compulsory part of our Year 12 curriculum in response to our students’ lack of confidence when presenting and the difficulty many of them faced when having to speak publicly and in interviews and we felt that they were at a disadvantage to many from other areas/independent schools.
“In this respect ESB has been a resounding success.  Most of our students express reluctance when it is first introduced to them but the feedback upon completion is overwhelmingly positive. Many of them have stated that it has enabled them to approach interviews and even speaking at events in front of large crowds with confidence – the transformation in some has been spectacular!”

Jonathan Burgess from Stoke Minster CofE Primary School sums up what he believes are the benefits to his Year 5 learners, in this video.

Tina Renshaw, ESB’s Chief Executive explains: “We are delighted to continue our longstanding working partnership with Stoke-on-Trent schools. The initiative has led to improved oracy skills for Stoke learners in the state sector. Inspiring high-quality communication in people of all ages is something we continue to recognise. We believe good communication skills lie at the heart of social mobility and is an essential part of closing the disadvantage gap.”

ESB would like to help many more learners through its 70/70 Campaign.

Tina continues, “Under the umbrella of our 70/70 campaign, we hope to support hundreds of young people from the third sector to gain speaking and listening qualifications that may not have been previously possible.”

If you would like to hear more about how your school or organisation could benefit, please email business@esbuk.org.


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