Reading and discussing literature: what we lose if Speaking and Listening is taken from the curriculum

The video link attached to this post is one I made in class last week. In it, three members of Year 9 (aged 13-14) discuss the novel The Knife of Never Letting Go. The model which was used when preparing was the BBC Radio 4 programme “A good read” and my students rose to the challenge well. I would be fascinated to receive some extra feedback to share with them!
My point is that since I work in a school which offers the Edexcel Certificate – IGCSE for state sector schools – I still have to prepare students for 10% of their final grade in Speaking and Listening. Meanwhile, this discipline is to vanish from the standard GCSE requirements.

Since it is important both in terms of developing children and giving them the tools to survive in the outside world AND it is important because it has the potential to improve GCSE grades, my department and I devote considerable time to honing the skills – hence beginning in Year 9 to promote good practice and to deliver substantial pieces of oral work. I really hope that colleagues find time to listen to the work shown here, featuring Yasoda, Zeeshan and Ritvik. They start slowly, but this develops beautifully. The film is unedited and the entire class had been given one hour-long lesson to prepare their thoughts, before being chosen at random. This sort of activity is threatened by the removal of the requirement to examine S+L- after all, to hear a class of 29 took well over a week of lessons!