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Muswell Hill Primary School

Communication & Oracy


At Muswell Hill we believe that all children should have the opportunity to actively discuss their learning in every lesson.

By talking about their learning, children are better able to retain key knowledge and build their vocabulary. Discussion also allows children to explain their thinking and make connections.

In every lesson, teachers plan in opportunities for ‘talking time,’ where children talk to each other about their learning. This could be a ‘rehearsal’ of an answer to a question posed, a chance to practise using key vocabulary or a discussion of a complex problem. All children are expected to take an active part in discussions in every lesson, and teachers use ‘cold calling’ to select children to answer questions. Children are expected to put their hands up to ask questions and build on the contributions of others, but are not expected to show ‘hands up’ to answer teachers’ questions.

Teachers support all children to be able to do this by modelling quality language themselves, showing sentence stems to give structure to children’s conversations and explicitly teaching subject-specific vocabulary. Children also have opportunities to build their language and confidence through activities like story-telling or drama. Alongside this, we also model and explicitly teach the skills required to be an active listener and a constructive talk partner.