The English-Speaking Union

The English-Speaking Union

At a glance


  • Education

Other details

Geographical remit: 


To give young people the speaking and listening skills and cultural understanding they need to thrive.


We work with teachers to improve oracy skills and cross-cultural understanding so that all young people, regardless of their background, can make their voices heard.

Our resources, programmes and competitions all teach two things. First, they teach students how to talk – how to structure a speech, summarise information, listen critically and to consider and address different audiences for example. Second, they help students to learn through talk. By discussing current affairs and topical issues, in any class or subject, students not only acquire deeper subject knowledge but a greater awareness of the world around them. Their horizons broaden and they improve their ability to consider and evaluate diverse opinions and points of view.

As students get used to speaking in class and learning to treat other people’s opinions with respect, so their social skills improve, along with their self-confidence, self-awareness and empathy.

Our approach chimes with the growing amount of research pointing to the importance of education in instilling interpersonal skills and character traits such as resilience, drive, tenacity and self-awareness. For example, recent research by the Sutton Trust shows that 97% of teachers, 94% of employers and 88% of young people believe that life skills such as confidence, motivation, resilience and communication are as or more important than academic qualifications.

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