Southroyd Primary School

Southroyd Primary School

Top Talkers


At Southroyd we are aiming to be Top Talkers - the research tells us that there is a strong link between success at school and a child's vocabulary. We are encouraging all our children to be Top Talkers, who will enrich their vocabularies and develop as effective and confident communicators. In turn, we believe this will also support children in their other school studies, particularly writing but also their wider life skills.

We have held whole school assemblies to introduce all the children to the research and are working hard to support our children's vocabulary and spoken language development in school. We link our assemblies to a school-wide Big Talk topic which we encourage parents to take part in at home. We share our Big Talk themes through the newsletter, school app and a series of posters visible around classrooms.


Research tells us that the prime cause for children to fail in their academic learning, is a poor and limited vocabulary. There is a key link between a child's oral age (relating to their vocabulary) and their reading age (relating to their ability to read) 


  • The National Curriculum says 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



"Speaking is a huge priority. It's one of the biggest indicators of success later in life. It's important in terms of their employability as they get older. It's important in terms of wellbeing. If children aren't able to express themselves and communicate how they're feeling, they're not going to be able to be successful members of society."

Amy Gaunt, Voice 21


*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


"We believe speaking and listening skills are fundamental to success in both learning and life. That's why we're leading a movement of teachers, schools and educators committed to ensuring all children and young people have access to high quality oracy teaching and learning" (Voice21, part of the Oracy Network)