Caistor Grammar School battled five other teams to win the prestigious the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition’s Lincoln heat hosted by Lincoln University. Caistor Grammar (whose 2018 team were placed second in the National Final) were joined by last year’s county runners-up Queen Elizabeth’s High School, Gainsborough, as well as De Aston School, Market Rasen, Lincoln Minster School, and competition first-timers The Priory Prembroke Academy, Cherry Willingham.
“It’s an honour to speak to a room full of people and be listened to,” said Gareth Willey from De Aston School in his maiden speech about the importance of oracy – summing up the consensus amongst 18 beaming teenage competitors. The spread of individual awards across all the schools competing indicated the high level of talent on the night.
The expert judging panel of the ESU’s own Alex Bailey (Head of branch education liaison), Lincoln College’s Mark Locking (Managing Director for Education and Training Delivery and Deputy CEO) and Lincoln University’s Deborah Wilson-David (Deputy Head of School of English and Journalism and Vice President of European Journalism Training Association) gave helpful feed-back and tips and commended the competitors’ good use of rhetorical questions, time keeping and teamwork.
The ESU Lincolnshire’s Chairman Sir Michael Graydon said: “This was the best competition we’ve hosted yet. Students came incredibly well-prepared and with a real understanding of the value of listening as well as speaking and preparing good arguments. It was particularly enjoyable to see how respectful students were of each other’s performances. We hope they will take away some really valuable tips on how to perform well in a public speaking environment and on how to structure their arguments even more effectively.”
Lincolnshire’s members Rosemary Burke and Caroline Childs organised the event with Rachel Burch wielding the timekeeper’s bell, an unenviable task when we all wanted to hear more.