The Department recognises the importance of oracy, which is why spoken language is already part of the National Curriculum for English for 5 to 16 year olds. In the early years, the Department are providing up to £17 million of funding in the Nuffield Early Language Intervention (NELI), improving the language skills of reception age pupils who need it most following the pandemic. In addition, the Department has secured over £28 million to support the speech and language of young children worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, delivered to 3 and 4 year olds through the new family hubs network.
In secondary schools, the GCSE English Language qualification ensures that students are able to listen to and understand spoken language and use spoken standard English effectively. Provisional 2023 data published by Ofqual shows that overall entries to GCSE English Language increased by 4.9% between summer 2022 and summer 2023. This data can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/provisional-entries-for-gcse-as-and-a-level-summer-2023-exam-series/provisional-entries-for-gcse-as-and-a-level-summer-2023-exam-series#gcse-entries.
The Department funds the national poetry recitation competition. This encourages both primary and secondary schools to participate to improve pupils’ knowledge and enjoyment of poetry, and to improve oracy through poetry recitation and recall. The competition provides an opportunity for pupils to enjoy sharing poems aloud.
The £67 million English hubs programme, launched in 2018, is dedicated to improving the teaching of reading, with a focus on phonics, early language development and reading for pleasure. Since its launch, the programme has provided appropriate and targeted support to several thousands of schools across England.
Enfield North’s local English hub, New Wave, is working to engage and support primary schools across the region to improve the teaching of phonics, including offering showcase events especially for local schools. 10 schools in Enfield have received intensive support from the New Wave English hub, excluding new partner schools who have joined the programme this year. A further five schools received resource funding from the hub in the 2022/23 academic year.