I’ve made a submission to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Oracy. They’ve requested evidence to assess the value and impact of oracy education on social mobility, educational achievement, wellbeing and future employability.
For those who don’t know, oracy is how the teaching profession describe the teaching of public speaking skills in schools.
I’m aware that my submission may be regarded as vain, but because I’m not a teacher, I thought the only way to contribute would be to say how a quality oracy education, which I got at school, enabled me to achieve certain things at certain points in my life.
I approached the task using the theory of ‘bright spots’ – I didn’t analyse what I thought was wrong, I just said what worked for me. Hence the submission is an account of my own successes and failures.
It includes characters I encountered along the way like Michael Gove, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Liz Truss, a description of institutions that helped me like the Oxford Union and Toastmasters International and an account of how I came to found the UK Speechwriters’ Guild and the European Speechwriter Network.
Having written the piece, I was moved to buy a couple of books on rhetorical education in the Renaissance. It’s worth remembering that in the 17th century the entire curriculum was focused on teaching young people to speak well in public. It’s strange that this is now overlooked and undervalued in education.
It’s nearly 3000 words. You can download it as a PDF here.
If you want to make a submission you need to do so by 9 August 2019, the guidelines are here.