Providing skills development in a non-traditional format can prove to be very popular, especially when students can take a full and active role in their own learning.


‘This English Speaking Board initiative is probably the single most influential thing I have been involved in as a leader and educationalist.’

Paul Boyes, Deputy Head All Saints Academy, Plymouth

Articulacy deliver a five-day programme for year 9 students, culminating in an English Speaking Board senior exam and nationally recognised qualification in oral communication. Articulacy’s mission to inspire young people to become confident and articulate individuals results in the delivery of very energetic and challenging sessions across the week designed to increase confidence and improve soft skills. A mix of games and practical work help learners overcome barriers of low self-esteem and fears of teamwork, and grow their academic potential. The week will give pupils the communication skills they need for their school lives and beyond.

Articulacy sessions were piloted under a previous project – the Devon Collaborative Outreach Network – and were found to be incredibly successful in raising aspirations and increasing engagement inside and outside of the classroom. This resulted in us rolling out the opportunity again as Next Steps South West.

Articulacy’s programme is structured from Monday to Friday and can accommodate up to 13 learners. Pupils will work throughout the week alongside the Articulacy coordinators and our student ambassadors on four key areas of oral communication ready for their exam on the Friday. Pupils will prepare a talk on a subject of their choice, creating visual aids and getting actively involved in offering opinions and advice to classmates. They will pick a poem/song lyric/prose and verbally introduce the title and author, speak it from memory and explain why the published piece is enjoyable. Reading to listeners is also covered; pupils are asked to bring in a book that they have enjoyed and prepare a passage of ~200 words with dialogue that they introduce before reading aloud the passage. Pupils are encourage to question and listen, contribute to discussions and answer questions, where appropriate, as the exchange of ideas are examined.

Articulacy use regular one-to-one tuition and constant positive reinforcement and praise to encourage active engagement in learning. The presence of our HE student ambassadors offers additional help and support from university role models. The positive teacher-student and peer relationships that ensue make the classroom a supportive space for pupils to realise their potential.