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Home > About the ESU-Rutland Teacher Award

About the ESU-Rutland Teacher Award

A female teacher with headscarf on standing in front of the classroom while speaking to three female students sitting and facing the blackboard.

What is the ESU-Rutland Teacher Award?

The English-Speaking Union builds confidence and empowers young people through the improvement of oracy skills, public speaking and debating.

The Rutland Foundation takes pride in sponsoring projects aimed at boosting young people’s confidence, entrepreneurship and social mobility. Its director is Chris Byrne, an alumnus of the ESU’s Public Speaking and Schools’ Mace debating competitions.

The ESU-Rutland Teacher Award is a prize that recognises the transformational contribution of teachers in empowering the young people they work with through public speaking and debating.

The award is open to secondary school teachers at schools of all types in England and Wales. We particularly encourage applicants from teachers working in low socio-economic areas and state-run schools.

We want to hear about you!

Perhaps you’ve set up a debate or public speaking club at your school? Perhaps you’ve given up your lunchtimes to lead it, and arranged outings for your students after school or at weekends to participate in competitions or other oracy events? If so, tell us more – this award is for you!

A female teacher and a female students sitting close to each other inside a classroom.
A female Secondary School Teacher holding books in her hand in the classroom with students sitting down and one female standing.

Am I eligible for this award?

To apply for this award, you must:

  1. Be a current secondary school teacher in England or Wales.
  2. Have made efforts to develop oracy skills in your classroom above the standard curriculum teaching.
  3. You do not have had to have been involved with the ESU or have paid for our programmes to enter.


Why should I apply?

There is a cash prize of £500 for the winning applicant, along with a free CPD workshop for up to 25 teachers at the teacher’s school. Our winner will be invited to London to the prestigious Wrench Lecture on Tuesday, 8 October 2024 to receive their award from Chris Byrne and the ESU. There is also a cash prize of £250 for the runner-up.

A female teacher and a girl pupil sitting down inside a classroom. The pupil is speaking to the teacher and holding a little teddy bear in her hand.
Teacher helping high school students with technology

What is the timetable for the award?

  • 1st May 2024: Applications open.
  • 26th July 2024:  Applications close.
  • 1st- 31st August 2024 : Pre-screening by ESU Education Team.
  • 2nd September 2024: Shortlisted applications to be judged by panel.
  • 9th September 2024: Finalists to be confirmed.
  • 8th October 2024: Awards presentation at Wrench Lecture in London.

Who will read and judge my application?

  1. All applications will be pre-screened and shortlisted by the Education Team at the ESU.
  2. Our shortlisted candidates will then be reviewed by our judging panel comprising experts in education, oracy, debating and public speaking.


Someone picking a pupil to answer his question with many students raising their hands to answer

What criteria will I be judged on?


  • Evidence of going above and beyond to upskill students in oracy.


  • Evidence of making efforts to include students that would otherwise not interact with oracy.
  • Evidence of improving oracy skills in students at all academic levels.
  • Evidence of how teacher’s contribution has positively impacted students’ social skills and friendships.


  • Evidence in developing our ESU 4 key oracy skillsets in students.
  • Expression and delivery.
  • Organisation and prioritisation.
  • Listening and response.
  • Reasoning and evidence.


What does ‘evidence of’ literally mean? How will they be assessed. We need to make this sound as least stressful as possible.

How does nomination work?

  1. You can nominate yourself or someone else for this award.
  2. If you nominate yourself, you will be asked to provide a secondary reference.
  3. To nominate yourself, please submit this form by 5pm on Friday, 27 July.
  4. To nominate a colleague or friend, please submit this form by 5pm on Friday, 27 July.


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