Case Study:

Next Steps South West: Articulate!

Workshop: Articulate!

About Them

Next Steps South West (NSSW) is a collaboration of fourteen partner universities and colleges throughout Cornwall, Devon and Somerset. We are funded by the Office for Students (OfS). As part of the Office for Students Uni Connect Programme, we help young people navigate their own personal journey to higher education. Across the region, we deliver events and activities designed to educate and inspire young people aged 13-19 years old, and those that influence them, such as parents and carers. We are one of their core projects.

What We Did

Articulate is an award-winning programme of fun and challenging literacy and oracy workshops. Over five days learners build confidence in presenting and improve their academic potential. The week culminates in an English Speaking Board (ESB) examination.

Through an energetic mix of challenging games and practical sessions, we increase confidence and improve soft skills, helping learners overcome barriers of low self-esteem and anxiety, and grow their academic potential.

The Results

593 students
30 schools
14,825 teaching hours
95% pass rate, all who took the assessment passed. The 5% who didn’t pass were not present for the assessment.

  • 88% of students felt more confident at the end of the workshop.
  • At the end of the week, 90% of students felt they could present better.
  • 80% of students felt their communication skills had improved.
  • 74% of pupils felt that their listening skills had improved.
  • 74% of students also felt that their ability to respond to questions had improved.
  • As a result of the workshop, 50% of pupils said they were more likely to consider university as an option for their future.
  • 77% reported an increase in their confidence speaking in public.
  • 100% rated an increase in knowing how to tell a story with maximum impact.
  • 85% said they understood how to manage nerves better.
  • 77% said they were more confident working with large groups.
  • 87% rated having a better understanding of how to communicate using different methods such as body language and tone of voice.

What They Said


“I thought it was a nice change from lessons. The relaxing atmosphere was fun and made it easier to learn, and the teacher and ambassadors were great!”

“I really enjoyed it and I would definitely do it again. It has really boosted my confidence. “

“I am very happy with the support I have received from the people that have been working with us. My confidence has grown massively over this week and I have been put in the right mindset not to worry when speaking in front of people that I don’t know or haven’t spoken to before.”

“It was fun. I enjoyed the games and by the end of the week I was confident enough to join in with the groups and I think I may be more confident throughout.”

“This was an incredible experience that no doubt will give me the confidence to take amazing opportunities that I would never have taken before. I would highly recommend.”

“This week was one of my favourites throughout the whole time I’ve been in school.”

“This week has been really good. I am definitely more confident in talking in a group. The games have helped a lot to get involved and engaged in a situation. After hearing about university I am definitely considering going.”

“Before today we would never have thought we could do anything like this, but now we have had all these exercises to boost our confidence, we have actually come out and read books and memorized poems and done things we didn’t think we could actually do, which is amazing. We needed a push and now we can say we have really done something good.”


“The English Speaking Board initiative is probably the single most influential thing I have been involved in as a leader and educationalist. To see the learners grow over a week, overcome the fears and self-doubt and realise their potential through academic rigour was breathtakingly transformational; especially for an inner-city community like ours. The tutors are just spectacular.”

All Saints Academy, Plymouth

“I haven’t had an opportunity to write properly and thank the team for their superb delivery and hard work with us here. It’s always so exciting and energising when we welcome you back. Magic truly does happen during these sessions!”

Bodmin College

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