OSA Speaks Out!

The annual Spires House Public Speaking competition is a great event in the school calendar. 24 students from Years 7-10 represented their Houses to compete in the Junior and Senior competitions in the Theatre on Thursday 9 May – with an audience of other students, staff and parents.

The competition is, of course, part of the wider public speaking and debating life of the school. From Blenheim Palace’s public speaking, debating at New College to the Shakespeare Speaking in High Wycombe; from English Speaking Union competitions to the Mock Magistrates – many students have already taken part this year and have had training to develop their skills.

The next – and one of the most important – annual events is our Academy Trust’s Speak Out! Competition, this year on 10 July at Somerville College in Oxford. OSA’s House Public Speaking competition is a key part of selecting the school team for this event.

With topics ranging from whether the police should be armed, to the future for feminism, to climate change, as always students addressed some very important topics in their speeches. They spoke persuasively and showed a lot of research – often helped by House research and speech writing teams behind the scenes.

In the Junior Competition, the winning House was Seacole, with prizes going to their Chair (Eva Morris) and their Vote of Thanks (Skyla Woodhill). The winner of the best Speaker at this level was Zoha Asgher from Tolkien House.

In the Senior Competition, the main difference is that a speaker is hosted by another House and is questioned on their speech afterwards by the hosting Questioner and by the audience. The winning House this time was Earhart, with a prize going to their Chair (Summer Wells), who stepped into the position after a fellow student was ill on the day. She did brilliantly! The best Speaker at this level was Sami Asgher from Tolkien House and the best Questioner was Alex Dunn from Bannister.

The panel of judges, Dr Brian McMahon, Dr Jen Sugden and Dr James Marsden, all from Oxford University, were extremely impressed by the quality of the performances.

Congratulations to all of the students taking part. It’s not as easy thing to stand up and present so articulately and confidently to a large audience, and the standard was high this year. Miss Morris, Mr Archibald and Dr Watson will deliberate now on the team to represent Spires in July!