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Communication is one of the three Cross-Curricular Skills at the heart of the curriculum. Developing pupils’ communication skills enables them to express themselves socially, emotionally and physically, develop as individuals, engage with others and contribute as members of society.

Teachers should give pupils opportunities to engage with and demonstrate communication skills. They should also have opportunities to transfer their knowledge about communication concepts and skills to real life and meaningful contexts across the curriculum.

The modes of communication include:

  • Talking and Listening;
  • Reading; and
  • Writing.

Effective communication also includes non-verbal modes and engaging with a range of multimedia and ICT texts that may combine different modes. These modes are covered in a range of contexts across the curriculum.

Teachers of any subject can encourage pupils to become effective communicators by using a range of techniques, forms and media to convey information and ideas creatively and appropriately.

Across the curriculum, at a level appropriate to their ability, pupils should be enabled to develop skills in three modes of communication.

In Talking and Listening, pupils should be enabled to:

  • listen to and take part in discussions, explanations, role-plays and presentations;
  • contribute comments, ask questions and respond to others’ points of view;
  • communicate information, ideas, opinions, feelings and imaginings, using an expanding vocabulary;
  • structure talk so that ideas can be understood by others;
  • speak clearly and adapt ways of speaking to audience and situation; and
  • use non-verbal methods to express ideas and engage with the listener.

In Reading, pupils should be enabled to:

  • read a range of texts for information, ideas and enjoyment;
  • use a range of strategies to read with increasing independence;
  • find, select and use information from a range of sources;
  • understand and explore ideas, events and features in texts; and
  • use evidence from texts to explain opinions.

In Writing, pupils should be enabled to:

  • talk about, plan and edit work;
  • communicate information, meaning, feelings, imaginings and ideas in a clear and organised way;
  • develop, express and present ideas in a variety of forms and formats, using traditional and digital resources, for different audiences and purposes; and
  • write with increasing accuracy and proficiency.

Teachers can measure standards of pupil competency in language and literacy through the Cross-Curricular Skill of Communication. 

Teachers can use the Levels of Progression for Communication as a progression framework for all Areas of Learning. This can help pupils to develop their communication skills across the curriculum and acquire the skills relevant to other Areas of Learning.

Assessing the Communication skills across the curriculum in a systematic and consistent way can help pupils to manage their own learning and to identify learning targets. It also helps pupils to connect learning from different areas of study. This will embed the independent learning that is desirable at Key Stage 4 and post-16.

See Assessment and Reporting at Key Stage 3 for more details.


For more information on Communication, contact: