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Home > Competitions

Competition registration is now closed. Sign up to our mailing list to hear when we reopen and to receive free resources.

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ESU competitions give students from all backgrounds the chance to have their voice heard. From debating the key topics of the day, or presenting a theme they are passionate about, to showcasing their Shakespearean talents, our challenges offer a new way to achieve. Not only do our competitions complement history, politics, English literature, PSHE and drama lessons, they provide a framework for high-quality extra- and co-curricular activities for students of all ages and abilities. We believe that equipping students with vital oracy skills not only improves their life chances, but can open up a whole world of possibilities and opportunity.

Public Speaking Competition

A female tutor with a notepad on her hand is standing whiles speaking.

WHAT: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales

AGE: Ages 13 – 16 (Years 9 – 11)

HOW:Competition registration is now closed.

WHEN: Round 1 heats will begin in November

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Three young females - two sitting down and listening to the other speaking whiles she is standing with lens glasses on.

WHAT: The oldest and largest debating competition for schools

AGE: Ages 11 – 18 (Years 7 – 13)

HOW: Competition registration is now closed.

WHEN: Round 1 heats are underway

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Performing Shakespeare

An inclusive group picture that comprises of primary school pupils, secondary school students, tutors and event organisers.

WHAT: Inclusive, accessible competition allowing students to perform Shakespeare

AGE: Ages 11 – 14 (Years 7 – 9)

HOW: Competition registration is now closed.

WHEN: Round 1 will take place from November

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Registration for our 2022-23 national competitions is now closed.

Please see the documents on the right for more information on key dates and on the competitions’ structure and costs.

If you have any questions or queries, please email or call 020 7529 1565.


From games to lesson plans, our bank of resources will help you get your class talking


World Schools Debating Championship

A group photo of five international secondary school students that comprises of two females and three males standing.

WHAT: The most respected international English-language debating competition

AGE: Students aged 14-19

HOW: Applications open in late August each year

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Ouse Valley Junior Public Speaking Competition

Three primary school pupils with an older woman standing close together and another older woman sitting in the background.

WHAT: Public speaking competition for Bedfordshire primary schools

AGE: Years 4-5

HOW: Branch-led

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Essex Junior Public Speaking Workshops & Competitions

A young female primary school pupil standing with a plastic water bottle in her left hand

WHAT: Public speaking workshops and competitions for Essex primary schools

AGE: Year 4

HOW: Branch-led by Colchester & Essex


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Other Local Competitions

Three young primary school students that comprises of two boys sitting at both ends of the table and the girl in the middle standing while speaking..

WHAT: Local competitions run by our branches across the country

AGE: Years 4-6 and Years 12 & 13

HOW: Branch-led

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It’s that great sense of achievement, that they’ve done something really quite challenging

Nicola Clayton Jones


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