Schools Award Update May 2017

LAMDA believes that all young people, regardless of background, should have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to access Further and Higher Education, secure employment and participate in lifelong learning. In order to help young people acquire essential oracy skills, LAMDA has developed a brand new qualification to meet this need head-on.

Since June 2014, Speaking and Listening has not counted towards final grades in GCSE English and English Language. This shift in focus does not appear to chime with industry concerns. Research warns of a significant skills gap among current school leavers – namely poor speaking and listening skills – which is a major concern. LAMDA is addressing this gap by providing a qualification that helps Learners develop these skills.

Following a successful pilot funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation last year, we are excited to roll out the first product in our new LAMDA Schools Award portfolio. Designed in line with the curriculum at Key Stage 3, the LAMDA Level 2 Award in Speaking and Listening Skills enables Learners to attain a nationally recognised, vocational qualification within the school timetable. This is the first Award of its kind in the UK. For those of you who are not yet aware of this qualification, you can read more on our website here.

The Award is primarily designed to boost performance at GCSE and beyond the classroom as Learners gain experience in:

  • undertaking independent research and selecting relevant material on a set topic
  • organising ideas to create persuasive arguments
  • adopting appropriate language for their audience
  • using voice, diction and body language to deliver engaging speeches
  • acquiring the confidence to speak spontaneously and engaging with others using exploratory talk
  • widening their vocabulary in the search for language to express a point of view.

Here’s what some of our pilot programme participants had to say about the value it added to both the school and their Learners:

‘My students’ confidence has improved significantly through engaging with this qualification. They did the practical exam today and they came out with massive grins on their faces and had a real sense of achievement. As a teacher you want to see them growing as students and today they were growing in front of my eyes. It’s why you go in for the job: to see young people develop into great human beings.’

Penny Umkalns
Teacher, St Thomas Aquinas Catholic School, Birmingham

‘This qualification benefited our pupils because it forced them to think on their feet, as well as prepare, plan, be flexible, responsive, resilient and reflect on their work.’

Sue Roberts
Head, Prendergast School, Lewisham 

‘Students being able to articulate their thoughts in an academic, formal way completely connects with their ability to write about the subject and pass examinations. So, through their LAMDA work, their performance in all subjects will be lifted.’

David Benson
Principal, Kensington Aldridge Academy, North Kensington

To support this new qualification, LAMDA have recruited a new Schools Award Examiner Panel (who have already started examining) and a new External Verification Team, who are supporting the Quality Assurance process. We have also held an Approaches To The Qualification training event in London for current and potential teachers of the Award. The training event featured a presentation from professional speechwriter and author Simon Lancaster. It was an informative and useful day, particularly for teachers to share best practice with their peers. LAMDA recognises the need to support teachers and these events provide an invaluable opportunity to network and share resources and ideas.

Some of you will have met our new Schools Award Officer, Rose Boorer, who has been doing sterling work on behalf of the Examiners and External Verification Panel, as well as new schools that are currently being approved and registered as LAMDA centres. Please look on the LAMDA website for sample materials and documents that relate to our assessment. 

We would love to tell you more at one of our upcoming introductory events. These interactive, twilight sessions will give you an insight into the qualification, as well as identifying opportunities for teaching speaking and listening skills in a collaborative and practical way. You will also have the chance to network with other teachers and share ideas. If you would like to learn more about these events, please contact Rose at rose.boorer@lamda.org.uk. Admission is free, but advance booking is essential. In addition, the Schools Award team will be running some specific Schools Award workshops in July as part of our Summer Workshops. We hope to see you there.

Thank you to everyone who has helped to support the delivery of the qualification thus far and good luck to all Learners who are taking their assessments in the summer term!

Published on 18 May 2017

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