Seven words. ‘I was born into a Celtic family.’ Seven is the number of perfection. The words encapsulate what it means to be a supporter of Celtic Football Club - heritage, culture, and belonging. On 27 May 2017, standing on a rain-sodden Hampden turf, manager Brendan Rogers spoke these words after his “invincible” team had dramatically captured the Treble – Scottish Cup, Premiership and League Cup. With those seven words he unites, as family, millions of supporters rejoicing before their flat screen televisions sited in six of the world’s seven continents. The power of spoken words.
In the world of education, though, do we recognise this power? Not really, according to emeritus professor Neil Mercer at Cambridge University. Speaking just a few months ago about the establishment of the Oracy Project, he asserts that ‘in many ways oracy is the poor relation in education systems of literacy and numeracy’.
Mercer is not alone with his assertion. Just last year I had the privilege of working with teachers from the Ad Astra Primary Partnership (Luby 2016). Born from the scarred, post-industrial landscape of Nottinghamshire mining villages and towns, these schools have bonded together to address the causes and impacts of poverty. As a partnership, they have identified 5 key aspects of child poverty:
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