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Oracy Qualifications

Are you interested in improving your learners’ speaking and listening skills?

Here at ESB, we support all learners to develop the oracy skills they need to achieve their aspirations.  Our wide range of accessible Oracy qualifications give learners the tools to thrive in education, training and employment. 

Our qualifications build confidence which is key to unlocking learners’ potential, raising achievement and enabling them to reach their personal and professional goals.

Our National Impact Report

Button to download ESB's National Impact Report.

Download our report to see how the feedback collected from learners and teachers demonstrates the impact of preparing for and experiencing an ESB International qualification in a communication-rich setting, which can foster learner agency, reduce public-speaking fears, and empower young people to find their place in the world.

Accredited Qualifications

Learners receive an accredited certificate highlighting their achievement (82% of our oracy qualifications are accredited), but we never think of it as simply a ‘certificate’, it’s more like a golden ticket to help them progress on every step of their journey. Our certificates are evidence of strong communication, a known skill gap in the workplace.

Our oracy qualifications are progressive and mapped to the relevant common curriculum requirements. We have qualifications to suit every learner’s needs. Find out more about these qualifications below.

Primary Oracy Qualifications

Graded Examinations in Speech

Pre-Entry | Entry Level | Level 1
(EYFS, KS1, KS2)

Graded Examinations in Speech (EAL)

A1 | A2 | B1
(KS1, KS2)

Group Speaking Qualifications

Entry 2 | Entry 3 | Level 1
(KS1, KS2)

Debating Qualifications

Level 1
(KS2 – Year 6-8)

Secondary and Post-16 Oracy Qualifications

Graded Examinations in Speech

Level 1 | Level 2 | Level 3
(KS3, KS4, KS5)

Group Speaking Qualifications

Level 1

Debating Qualifications

Level 1 | Level 2 | Level 3
(KS3, KS4, KS5)

Building Confidence in Communication

Entry 1 | Entry 2 | Entry 3
(Learners who have significant learning needs)

We understand the importance of possessing key communication skills and we’re here to support our learners to develop them. Talk is a fundamental part of our lives and improves and enhances learners’ oracy skills, whilst at the same time builds confidence and improves teamwork skills.

Employers continue to tell us that teamwork and communication skills are central to their success and need to be of a higher standard when people enter the workforce. The development of effective communication, alongside an accredited qualification, gives learners a clear advantage when applying for a place in college, university or in the job market.

Clarity of communication and an ability to express thoughts simply, sincerely and persuasively are qualities needed by everyone in this specialised, competitive world. Every individual will have to inform, instruct, question, interpret, disagree and advise.

Time after time, learners come out of their assessment saying, ‘Can I do that again please?’ To hear that comment is music to our ears. Our speech assessments are carried out in small groups where learners are assessed individually – replicating real life opportunities for speaking and listening.

Our qualifications are based on educational theory and research into oracy and focus on the interactivity of communication and the personal development it creates.

Why choose ESB?

Group Experience

The majority of our Oracy qualifications are carried out in groups where learners are assessed individually – replicating real life opportunities for speaking and listening. Our Group Speaking qualifications assess groups of learners (minimum requirement of six learners in each group) – enabling them to work collaboratively and support one another.

External Assessment

At ESB, we do everything we can to take away the administrative burden that so many providers face. 95% of our Oracy qualifications are externally assessed. Assessments take place at your centre and are delivered and marked by our trained and standardised assessors and markers – giving you more time for teaching.

Fantastic Assessors

From the moment our team of flexible assessors meets your learners, they will be encouraged and supported, and their work will be appreciated. ESB assessors are annually standardised to ensure that their marking is consistent and that they bring to every assessment a passion for ESB’s core values of providing enjoyable assessments.

Learners’ Choice

We give our learners the opportunity to choose what they want to talk about. There is nothing more valuable than giving young people a platform for a chance to be heard, and for them to speak passionately about what interests them.

Easy to Embed across the Curriculum

Oracy doesn’t have to be confined to the English department; our qualifications are designed to be incorporated into your teaching across a variety of subjects. Not only does this develop your learners’ academic learning, it also reduces the need for extra-curricular teaching.

Personalised Reports

Your learners receive a written report with personalised feedback about their performance. Each learner is treated as an individual who has individual interests and an individual temperament.

At ESB, the learner is not a performer of studied pieces, but a person taking their place in society as a worker, a citizen. We do not only assess what the young person knows or says, but what they have become.

Just as literacy and numeracy are important foundations for reading, writing and maths, oracy is a vital foundation for successful speaking, listening and communication.

Confident and effective interpersonal and communication skills are key for employability and also improve:

  • Mental health
  • Empathy
  • Learner agency
  • Confidence
  • Sense of identity
  • Self-esteem
  • Determination
  • Resilience
  • Collaborative learning
  • Academic achievement

On behalf of SKT and all its learners and teachers, I would like to express my gratitude to ESB. Thank you for your persistent trust and support as well as your lovely and professional assessors.

Our learners are always encouraged and enlightened to speak out and voice their ideas during the assessments, which makes us moved and fulfilled. We feel very honoured to cooperate with ESB and hope we can inspire more learners to join us for a glorious future.

Ellie Chen, ESB Organiser & Academic Manager at SKT Education Group (China)

Provide great opportunities for cross-curricular work, embedding oracy into the wider curriculum and fabric of your centre.

Create opportunities to promote, discuss and practise ideas around citizenship, British values, PSHE and SMSC.

Through the content used for a wide range of assessment tasks, learners are given chances to enrich their cultural capital.

Promote whole school literacy/reading for pleasure initiatives.

Encourage critical thinking, working as a team, leadership, perseverance, planning, and social skills (e.g. turn-taking).

Encourage learners to consider their career options, and to reflect on their future prospects in a positive and ambitious way.

Give learners a voice – our learner-led focus means that they have the chance to talk about what really matters to them, and to have their voices heard in a professional yet supportive setting.

If participating through the Christabel Burniston Fund, your centre will receive a report analysing the impact of our assessments on your learners’ oracy skills and personal development.

Funding and Prices


We financially support centres whose learners face disadvantage due to socio economic factors, disability or migration status through the Christabel Burniston Fund, established in honour of our founder, Christabel Burniston MBE.

Over the last 3 academic years more than 40 centres have benefited from the support provided by The Christabel Burniston Fund with resounding successes shown in the huge improvement of learners’ speaking and listening skills.

Who is eligible for The Christabel Burniston Fund?

If you are a centre that shares the common belief that communication lies at the heart of social mobility and you think your learners could benefit from our qualifications but are concerned about fees, please email

We use two main sets of indicators for state schools:

  • The percentage of pupils receiving Pupil Premium.
  • The Government’s Indices of Deprivation for the area that your school serves.
  • For third sector organisations we will look at your current income and external funding and the Government’s Indices of Deprivation for the community your organisation supports.

If you would like to find out about the financial support that ESB could offer at your centre, please click here or email


We try and keep the cost of our assessments at a reasonable price and we will never turn a centre away who can’t afford them.

This fee includes:

  • The assessment itself which takes place at your centre.
  • ESB’s wonderful assessors who come to your centre and deliver the assessment.
  • Your learners’ personalised reports.
  • Delivery of your learners’ certificates to your centre.
  • Support from our dedicated teams throughout your learners’ ESB journey.

We are here for you and we aim to ensure all centres and learners feel supported from the outset right through to completion of their ESB journey – making life as simple as possible for you.

To see a full breakdown of all our prices, please click here.
  • Graded Examinations in Speech – These qualifications differ in price, ranging from the minimum price of £33.00 for our Pre-Entry qualifications for Key Stage 1 learners right through to the maximum price of £60.00 per learner for our Level 3 Graded Examinations in Speech for learners in Key Stages 4 & 5.
  • Our Entry Level Graded Examinations in Speech (EAL) qualifications range from £34.00 (A1) to £36.00 (B1).
  • Debating – These qualifications range from £30.00 per learner at Level 1 (aimed at Key Stage 2 & 3 learners) to £52.00 per learner at Level 3 (aimed at Key Stage 5 learners).
  • Group Speaking – These qualifications range from £67.00 at Entry 2 (Key Stages 1 & 2) to £78.00 at Level 1 (Key Stage 3). These prices are for an unlimited size group.
  • Level 4 Award in Professional Presentation Skills – This qualification is priced at £67.00 per learner.

*Academic Year 2023 – 2024

Frequently asked questions about our Oracy qualifications

1. Which of our Speech qualifications are recognised and regulated?

Please click here to find out which of our speech qualifications are regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales (QiW) and the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA).

2. Do our learners need prior knowledge, skills or experience to complete our Speech qualifications?

No prior learning, other qualification or units are needed to enrol on these qualifications. Learners can be entered for any qualification appropriate to their ability and needs.

3. What is the preparation time for our Speech Qualifications?

Depending on the qualifications that you choose for your learners, the Guided Learning Hours (GLH) could vary from 12 hours – 40 hours. The Guided Learning Hours refer to the suggested number of hours for a learner to be taught by a teacher, tutor or other appropriate provider of education or training in preparing for these qualifications.
In addition to the Guided Learning Hours, learners should also dedicate some time to studying on their own. We do advise that the maximum preparation time should be no longer than a term to ensure learners remain focused. These figures are a guide and are not definitive as people learn at different rates depending on their personal circumstances.

4. How do I prepare my learners for their assessments?

To prepare for the assessment itself, registered centres can access resources to support you to prepare for each qualification along the way.

5. How long will it take to get my learners’ results and certificate?

We make it a priority to send results and certificates out to centres quickly. Our turnaround time for results is five working days, or ten working days in our Peak Periods (May, June and July).

6. Do any of our Speech qualifications carry UCAS tariff points?

Yes! Our Level 3 qualifications across our Speech portfolio carry UCAS Tariff Points. You can see them in the table below:

Qualification Pass Merit Distinction
ESB Level 3 Certificate in Speech (Grade 6) 8 10 12
ESB Level 3 Certificate in Speech (Grade 8) 24 27 30
ESB Level 3 Award in Debating 4 8 12
ESB Level 3 Award in Using Oral Skills for Interviews 4 8 12
ESB Level 3 Award in Travel & Tourism Oral Communication Skills for Overseas Resort Representatives 4 8 12

Please note, only our Level 3 Award in Debating, Level 3 Award in Travel & Tourism Oral Communication Skills for Overseas Resort Representatives and ESB Level 3 Award in Using Oral Skills for Interviews are visible in the look-up function on the UCAS Website. For our Graded Examinations in Speech, please see the link to the spreadsheet of Tariff tables on the UCAS Website.

7. How do I apply for a Reasonable Adjustment?

Assessment should be a fair test of learners’ skills and knowledge; for some learners the usual format of assessment may not be suitable or accessible. Learners with specific needs can apply for reasonable adjustments to be made to the assessment. For our policy in relation to access arrangements, please visit here

8. Where can I download the Qualification Specifications?

To view a detailed specification for any of our Speech qualifications, please click here to view our qualification filter page. On this page, you can search for specific qualifications or use the filter questions on the left-hand side of the page to find qualifications which match your learners’ needs. Once you have found the qualification that you are interested in, you can download its specification. Our specifications are intended to support teachers in the classroom and include information on how the assessments will be conducted and the skills, knowledge and understanding to be assessed.
Additionally, if you still have unanswered questions about our Speech qualifications, please contact our Product Development Team. We are always here to answer any queries you may have.

9. Do we provide Speech qualifications for EAL learners?

Yes. We provide a suite of Entry Level Graded Examinations in Speech for learners who speak English as an additional language which are available at three levels: Entry 1, Entry 2 and Entry 3. The EAL suite of Graded Examinations is mapped to the Common European Framework for Languages. Please click here here to find out more about these qualifications.

  • ESB Entry Level Award in Graded Examinations in Speech (Entry 1) (EAL-A1)
  • ESB Entry Level Award in Graded Examinations in Speech (Entry 2) (EAL-A2)
  • ESB Entry Level Award in Graded Examinations in Speech (Entry 3) (EAL-B1)
10. Are any of our Speech qualifications mapped to the National Curriculum?

Our Graded Examinations in Speech are mapped to the National Curriculum in England in relation to its requirements in Spoken Language at Key Stages 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Furthermore, it can be flexibly taught; it can be embedded into the classroom teaching of a curriculum topic or delivered as a standalone activity. This qualification can also support the teaching of national curricula in English and Literacy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In addition, it can be used by teachers to help deliver Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and can contribute to learners’ Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural (SMSC) development and the promotion of citizenship and British values through the content used for talks, poetry and books.

11. We are a new centre, can we get any training?

If you would like to find out more about the type of training available, please contact us.

13. Can I use Speech qualifications in a mixed ability setting?

Yes. The entry point to your ESB journey may be customised to suit the learners’ own needs and abilities. Learners can be entered for the assessment that best suits their strengths, abilities and interests, whether that be an English as an Additional Language (EAL) qualification, a higher or lower grade, group speaking or debating.
If you still have unanswered questions about our speech qualifications, please contact our Product Development Team. We are always here to answer any queries you may have.

14. Can I request a replacement certificate?

An ESB learner, centre (on behalf of a leaner) or parent/guardian (on behalf of a learner), can request a replacement certificate if the original has been lost or damaged. A fee of £30.00 is charged per certificate.
To make a request, please complete our Replacement Certificate Form and our Customer Experience Team will process your request. Please allow a period of 14 working days for a replacement certificate to be issued and dispatched once payment has been received.
For more information, please see our Replacement Certificates Policy.

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