Speech, language and communication skills are crucial to young children's overall development. Children need oral language skills in order to:

  • Learn; children need to understand what you are teaching them and then develop their understanding by speaking to adults and peers. 
  • Express themselves; oral language helps children to express their emotions and regulate their behaviour. 
  • Socialise; children communicate to make friends, join in activities and develop a sense of belonging. 

Good oral language skills are the foundation for learning how to read, and children who use a wide range of vocabulary and grammar early on become better readers in primary school. It is proven that those children progress at a faster rate as they are able to read more complex texts earlier on and further build their skills. 

Oral skills are also needed to develop mathematical ability and are critical for children's social and emotional development. 

At Bowness, we believe that these skills are paramount to our pupils' development, following research we now participate in the NELI programme. This is a specialist intervention programme that has been proven to help young children overcome language difficulties. It is designed for children aged 4-5 years and combines small group work with one-to-one sessions delivered by trained staff and will target vocabulary, narrative skills, active listening and the children’s ability to hear and distinguish sounds.

We believe spoken language to be essential in the development and achievement of our children across the curriculum. We strive to develop spoken language skills through the taught curriculum, the hidden curriculum, playtimes and lunchtimes, extra-curricular activities and the whole ethos of the school. Children are taught how to be effective communicators through oracy projects that feature skills such as storytelling, debating and presenting. Good oracy skills support wider literacy skills; improvement in oracy is also linked to improvements in reading, writing, and overall attainment. We aim to develop and encourage fluent speakers, with rich vocabulary, who are confident to operate in a wide range of situations.