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The Public Speaking Competition for Schools was started in 1960 by the Brighton and Hove branch of the ESU. It has evolved to become a highly respected national competition which provides a forum for the promotion of effective spoken English.
The competition is open to teams of three students in key stage 4 (years 10 and 11) and each team member takes one of three roles – chairperson, speaker or questioner. Students who participate in the competition develop their knowledge of topical issues, while enhancing their speech writing skills, their speaking and presentation skills and their ability to think analytically on their feet. The competition also helps to develop confidence in its participants.
Unlike the ESU Schools Mace, this is not a debating competition. The format of the Public Speaking Competition is non-confrontational in nature. The role of the chairperson is to introduce the speaker and his or her topic, call on the questioner and the audience members to put questions to the speaker and summarise the overall presentation as part of his or her conclusion. The role of the questioner is to ask probing questions with a view eliciting more information from the speaker and expanding the discussion as a whole.
The competition runs with the academic year, beginning in the autumn term. The initial rounds of the competition will take place between October and December. The regional finals of the competition will take place between February and March and the UK final will take place in April.
In addition to being an exciting competition for the team, the model achieves targets set by the PLTS framework as well as a wide range of National Curriculum key concepts across the subject areas.
The Speech and Debate Competitions Handbook is available to download below. The handbook contains a glossary of commonly used public speaking terms, the updated rules of the competition, details of the competition format, as well as guidelines for speakers, coaches, adjudicators and organisers.