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14th March 2023

We’ve previously mentioned how proud we are to be involved in the Bristol Educational Partnership (BEP) and the great opportunities that it presents for both our students and staff. As part of this, late last year Vicki Haigh, our in-house BEP representative and Head of Pedagogy, Professional Development and Innovation, shared an exciting chance for four St Brendan’s students to become BEP Oracy Pioneers. You can read more about the process our successful applicants had to undergo here.

After a successful interview process, our four Pioneers, alongside Pioneers from other BEP member schools, completed their first training session earlier this month. It was delivered at St Brendan’s by Bristol Education Partnership and Unique Voice. The day began with introductions to the scheme followed by a workshop about “defining the ethics of space, boundaries and participation”. The students from the various schools and colleges took part in a chair-swapping game which was a brilliant icebreaker in order for everyone to learn more about each other. The group also took part in warm-up activities such as body and breathe wake up, tongue twisters, rhythm detective and much more to help them to bond, build rapport and loosen up their voices and bodies for the practical day ahead.

Sesison two of the day focussed on The Ingredients of a Facilitator, and Fiona and Corinne the session leaders began by explaining the terms Oracy and facilitator. Students went on to learn what makes a good/bad facilitator as they watched a film about clowns and play workers in migrant camps. The group then began to brainstorm and discuss good/bad facilitator qualities. Once the discussion ended they completed a hangman challenge which got them to think about what their unique selling point would be as a facilitator and what skills they would want to develop, this raised a healthy discussion within the class.

Session three was all about developing empathy and establishing the importance of interpersonal and communication skills in life. The group completed a series of activities such as listening and not listening. They also took part in an agony aunt role play which helped them to develop their listening skills.

Session four addressed confidence, what it is, what can build it and what can knock it. The group discussed how confident they felt in certain situations followed by a body & breathe activity which began a discussion on what they thought confidence looked like, this helped our group to establish an understanding of confidence.

The final session of the day was centred on Oracy, our session leaders and students discussed the importance of talking and the mental and physical anxieties some people may have around public speaking. The students then delivered a short Ted Talk about something close to their hearts, which helped them to practice their Oracy and confidence skills.

The day ended with a summary of what the students had learnt and what they could take away from the session and with information about what the next training session will look like. We look forward to attending session two and finding out what our Oracy Pioneers get up to next!