English Speaking Board – ESB

At Eaton Park Academy, we are firmly underway with our speaking programme lead by the English Speaking Board (ESB). This year we will have Reception children through to Year 3 completing their ESB exams. ESB’s mission is, ‘to promote clear, effective communication at all levels by providing high quality assessments, training and services in the UK and around the world, recognising and encouraging the potential of all.’ This programme will help our children at Eaton Park with communication, self-confidence and awareness. All of the children who have completed their badges so far have found it a marvellous experience, where they get to show case their confidence and personalities through joining in with stories, reciting poetry and talking fluently about a special item. All the examiners, so far, have praised our children’s outstanding effort and desire to succeed.

In the Early Years, children will be assessed on listening and attention, understanding and speaking. To be awarded Early Steps Badge 1, the children will have to complete 3 sections: ‘Hello and Goodbye’, ‘Join in the Game’ and ‘Join in the Story’. The children’s teacher will be there to support them and the assessment will be completed in small groups. The friendly examiners encourage the children to discuss their favourite parts of the story. For example, the children adored sharing that their favourite part of ‘Not Now Bernard’ was when the monster appeared and mum hadn’t even noticed.

As the children travel into Year 1, they are encouraged to become more independent, in order to gain their second badge. For Early Steps Badge 2, the children have to complete: ‘Joining in the Game’, ‘Circle Time – speaking by heart’, ‘Circle Time – talking about something special’ and ‘Interacting with Others’. This badge really gives the children the opportunity to develop speaking in extended sentences and talking to engage an audience. It is tricky to stand in front of someone has talk aloud about something special, but our children thrive on sharing their items and love exploring them with the examiner.

When the children reach Year 2, they begin, ‘Junior Introductory’. This qualification is split into 4 sections: ‘Talk about Something Special’ (2 minutes), ‘Speaking by Heart’ (1 minute), ‘Reading Aloud’ (1 minute) and ‘Listening and Responding’. This year, we will be allowing the children to choose their favourite part of the class book, ‘Sleeping Beauty’, and that is what they will read. They will learn to engage with their selected part of the story, reading with intonation and expression, while being able to discuss why it is their favourite part. They will also get the choice between a pirate and a dragon poem to rehearse. The children will be able to create their own actions and perform their poem to a high standard.

In Year 3, the children will complete an ‘Entry Level Award 1’. This is very similar to the Year 2 exams and follows the same structure, however, there is more of a focus on the interaction between the children in the group. Can they ask questions and answer them? Can they comment on their peers presentations and give praise? During this exam, you get the opportunity to reach ‘merit and distinction’, which will really demonstrate the levels of speaking in the class and promote great outcomes.

Our aim is to continue to build this scheme throughout the school. Next year, it will stretch from Reception to Year 4 completing their exams. We have ESB in our lessons, homework and social aspects of school, allowing the children to have a voice in an intrinsic value.