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What is Spoken Language?

The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically.

Our aim is to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. At Boldmere Junior School, we value spoken language as an important part of the children’s entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum as it provides children with opportunities to develop and extend their skills and to express their individual interests, thoughts and ideas.  Children are encouraged to explore ideas through talk, by challenging each other’s opinions and developing reasoned arguments, as well as talking in full sentences with a clear and confident voice.

The following statements apply to all years. The content builds on the oral language skills that have been taught in preceding years at a level appropriate to the age of the child.


The National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to:


  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play/improvisations and debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication