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Home > Competitions > Public Speaking Competition

‘It’s a chance to speak to other people about the issues that drive our world’

Public Speaking Competition

Key facts

  • What: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales
  • Age: Years 9-11
  • Price: £30 per team (up to two teams per school); fee waivers available
  • When: Heats run November to February, with the grand final in April

In brief

The prestigious ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition is the largest such contest in England and Wales, with around 400 teams (each comprising a speaker, questioner and a chairperson) annually. 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.

Picture of a Public Speaking Competition Team

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

Michael Crick

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

1,150

The number of students taking part in the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition 2018/19

find out more

First and second round heats run November to February, with the regional finals in late February/March. The grand final is in late April. Registration opens in late June/early July and closes in October each year.

Questions?

If you have any questions or queries about the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition please email matthew.christmas@esu.org or call 020 7529 1587.

free tickets for the FINAL

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