Category: Communication, Literacy & Oracy

National Poetry Day 2023

I have always been comfortable with words. Nowadays I read every day, and reading was a big part of my growing-up too, though only stuff I enjoyed. I started with the Famous Five, moved on to comics and football annuals, and then graduated in… Continue Reading “National Poetry Day 2023”

Reciting poetry

Reciting poetry

There is a moment in the film Dead Poets Society that conjures up memories of my own schooldays. We are in a Latin class, the students declining the noun agricola (farmer) in unison. When they reach the ablative plural agricolis, their teacher Mr McAllister… Continue Reading “Reciting poetry”

Benefits of oracy

Benefits of oracy

A primary school deputy headteacher points to a “dramatic improvement” in children’s speaking and listening and to clear impact across the curriculum – “from problem solving in maths, to expressing opinions about books, to resolving playground conflicts”. The leader of an educational charity talks… Continue Reading “Benefits of oracy”

Giving children a voice

How refreshing it was to see references to the importance of teaching oracy in schools high up the public agenda, albeit momentarily, a few weeks ago. Oracy – speaking skills – featured in a speech on education policy delivered by Sir Keir Starmer, leader… Continue Reading “Giving children a voice”

Valuing our libraries

Valuing our libraries

We all know that libraries are a good thing, right? But how much of a good thing? For the first time we can express the value of libraries in monetary terms. A new report – Libraries for living, and for living better – suggests… Continue Reading “Valuing our libraries”

Creativity and the arts


‘Apparently the arts and humanities aren’t important’ – so tweeted architectural historian and broadcaster Jonathan Foyle at the weekend alongside a photo like the one above of the vast Glastonbury crowd. His ironic tweet hints at widespread concern about the downgrading of creative subjects… Continue Reading “Creativity and the arts”

A Boost for Creative Writing

BBC 500 Words

Douglas Adams said: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” It’s one of my favourite quotes about writing. Another comes from Margaret Attwood: “A word after a word after a word is power.” Too many children find… Continue Reading “A Boost for Creative Writing”

World Book Day

World Book Day

The author Philip Pullman’s contribution to the recent fuss about rewriting Roald Dahl was to encourage young readers to try some of the many wonderful authors who are writing today, “who don’t get as much of a look-in because of the massive commercial gravity… Continue Reading “World Book Day”

Critical thinking and fake news

critical thinking

A recent report suggests that young people are increasingly relying on social media platforms rather than traditional news channels to keep up to date with the news. This is a worrying trend. How do we know that what we read is accurate or even… Continue Reading “Critical thinking and fake news”

New children’s laureate is thinking imaginatively

children's laureate

Joseph Coelho is taking over as children’s laureate from the author Cressida Cowell. Meanwhile, latest figures show that one in four ten-year-olds did not meet the expected standard in reading or writing last year, and the Times Education Commission report pointed out recently that… Continue Reading “New children’s laureate is thinking imaginatively”