- What: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales
- Age: Years 9-11
- Price: £45 per team (up to two teams per school); subsidies and fee waivers available for schools with high FSMs and EAL
- When: Heats begin in November, with the grand final in April
The prestigious ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition, sponsored by the International Churchill Society, is the largest such contest in England and Wales, with around 400 teams (each comprising a speaker, questioner and a chairperson). The different roles allow students to practise and excel in different skill sets, and the competition’s unique format, which pairs the speaker from one school with the chair and questioner of another, encourages quick thinking and relationship building. Most of all it’s fun, and a great way for students to develop their oracy skills in a friendly, supportive environment.
Once registered, we will be in touch with the date and venue of your heat and a list of topics to choose from.
Why do it
- Prestigious England and Wales-wide competition is highly motivating for students and the school as a whole
- Non-adversarial format which emphasises cooperation and presentation skills
- Challenges students to engage with wide-ranging cross-curricular topics, while helping to meet National Curriculum speaking and listening targets
- Encourages confidence, critical thinking and social mobility, broadening students’ horizons and opportunities
- Experienced ESU judges give constructive feedback to all participants at all levels of the competition
- Opportunity for students to represent England and Wales at the ESU’s International Public Speaking Competition, competing against students from around the world
- Regular hints, tips and resources which you can use to improve oracy skills in your classroom
- Our network of regional volunteers and partner schools means we can arrange a heat in your area
- Builds links and camaraderie with other schools both locally and nationally
The Public Speaking Competition gave me the confidence I could do things on a national scale
Journalist and author
‘The ESU Public Speaking Competition is a tough challenge but also an amazing opportunity. As a teacher, I’ve seen my students grow in confidence as they develop new skills and push themselves just beyond their comfort zone. A year on, I can see that they can engage in political debate and thrash things out on a conceptual level in way that they would have found difficult beforehand.’
Kevin Finniear, teacher, St Philip Howard Catholic School, Chichester, ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition winners 2017/18
See the competition in action and how the roles of speaker (from one team) and the chair and questioner (from another) interact.
On the left, you can watch Lily’s speech ‘Hope will never be silent’. Other speeches from the competition are also available on our YouTube channel. Zagham’s speech ‘Rising youth crime is proof of a societal failure’ is available here and Jenny’s speech ‘Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything’ is available here.
Taunton Academy – winners of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition 2020-21 – reflect on the skills and confidence they have developed as a result of taking part, and why new schools and even nervous students should get involved.
The number of students taking part in the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition 2018/19
find out more
Registration for the 2021-22 competition is now closed.
First rounds heats run in November and December, with later rounds in February and March. The grand final is in late April.
If you have any questions or queries about the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7529 1565.
If you would like to be kept informed about our competitions and to receive free resources, please sign up for our newsletter here.