The Midlands Final of the Public Speaking Competition was hosted by Oxfordshire this year. After the event was postponed from March 3rdto March 17th(to avoid the Beast from the East) we lost one of the branch finalists, the Hereford Cathedral School, and so there were five teams in the Regional Final:
The King Edward VI Camp Hill School for Girls (Birmingham)
Oxford Spires Academy (Oxon)
Loughborough Grammar School (Leics)
Pates Grammar School (Glos)
The Royal Grammar School, Worcester (Worcs)
The event was held in the Coroners’ Court at Oxfordshire County Hall in the centre of Oxford, a suitably serious and dramatic venue for the competitors and the audience. The awards were presented by the Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council, Cllr Zoe Patrick and the Chairman of the Oxfordshire committee of the ESU, Cllr Timothy Hallchurch. The standard of all five teams was astonishingly good and their choice of topic was illuminating and extremely ‘topical’ as four of the five teams chose to discuss aspects of news, fake news, social media, the manipulation of public opinion and tribal politics.
It was with great difficulty that the judges decided to award first place to Oxford Spires Academy (see pictured top right) with the Pates Grammar School team as a very worthy runner-up.
Special thanks to Cllr Hallchurch for securing an alternative venue at short notice, to Cllr Zoe Patrick, to our three judges, Paul Holleley, Roger Trafford and Fiona Mauchline and to our time-keeper, Bruce Hunt.
Image below: At the Coroners Court, Oxfordshire County Council for the Public Speaking Competition.
This story was submitted by the ESU Oxfordshire branch. Please click here for information on this branch and its upcoming events.