The final of the annual East Region Sixth Form Public Speaking Competition, held on 10 December 2020, was the culmination of the first ESU contest to be conducted online.
This year involved only speechmakers instead of following the usual team format. Each of the six speakers had qualified as the winner of a school heat and through an area semi-final. BBC political journalist Charlotte Rose; the founder of the literary festival ‘Words in Walden’, Dr Joanna Burch; and ESU Head of Membership and Stakeholder Engagement, Matthew Christmas, judged Diti of Colchester County High School for Girls to be the winner and Miles from Bedford Modern School as runner-up. Diti presented the case in favour of trial by jury while Miles examined the significance of small political parties. Each receives a prize from the ESU of National Book Tokens.
Forty-eight entrants from 10 schools participated in the competition overall with the following also reaching the final: Dermot from St Benedict’s Catholic School, Bury St Edmunds; Lucy from The Sandon School, Chelmsford; Isabella from The Perse School, Cambridge; and Sebin of King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford. Our congratulations to all involved.