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The Worshipful Company of Educators Annual Public Speaking Competition for Schools

The next competition will be held

Date: Monday 13 March 2017
Time: 5.45 – 8.30/8.45 pm (approx.) NB Please arrive by 5.30 for a prompt start at 5.45.
Place: Gresham College, Barbard's Inn Hall, Holborn, EC1N 2HH

Please contact Pam Taylor (Court Assistant) if you are interested in this event.

Report on Worshipful Company of Educators Public Speaking Competition, with sponsorship from the Grey Coat Hospital/United Westminster School Foundation held March 21st 2016

On March 21st , Gresham College played host to the latest in the ever-lengthening series of annual competitions for 14-16 year-olds from London schools, organised by Court Assistant Pam Taylor, with excellent support from several helpers from the Company.  The splendid and ancient Barnards Inn Hall was packed with students from the eight competing schools, their teachers, friends and families, as well as a good number of Educators: this number has increased as the event has become more and more deeply rooted in the Educators' calendar and psyche.

Each year, the event has been a remarkable tonic to those of us who are ageing Educators, some perhaps occasionally tending towards doubts about the state of modern youth. The speakers simply continue to give an overwhelmingly positive and encouraging image and impression of the younger generation: who could fail to be impressed by their sheer passion and enthusiasm?  The list of topics had its usual variety and intrigue, and none of the speakers disappointed. There was, it is true,  something of a leitmotiv in the shape of Social Media, but this does reflect the undoubted fact that this is something about which students feel strongly – either in favour of or concerned about its pervasive influence. 

This year’s event was rated extremely highly by those attending.  Indeed, there was a very strong sense made by stalwarts that it was the best yet - especially in terms of the consistent quality of the speakers. Here are some comments from those attending:

Congratulations again on arranging an excellent public speaking competition. There is an enormous amount of work required to make it all go so smoothly and that is all down to you. We are all very grateful to you.

I just wanted to say many thanks for yesterday evening.
It was a wonderful occasion and to a person, the speakers did themselves, their schools and the Worshipful Company of Educators huge credit.
I for one went away per doctrinam ad lucem as I am sure it was for everyone else.

Thank you so much for all your hard work in organising the fabulous Public Speaking event last night. It really was the best ever!

Congratulations on such a delightful evening. The speakers were amazing and gave us all much to think about.   A huge 'thank you' for all the planning that I know is involved in getting the schools to contribute and take part.

An excellent evening - it gets better year on year!
Wonderfully choreographed! and a fitting tribute to all your hard work.
Very well done
Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the event.
We feel it is the highlight of the year - it is, as they say, "what the Educators are about".

Thanks again, Pamela, for a wonderful evening. Fantastically organised and we really enjoyed the speeches.

Any number of the speakers put up a strong claim for consideration for the prizes, and if ever the superlative panel of judges (the Master was joined by Lyn Williams and Francis Bergin, seasoned adjudicators over many years) was vindicated by its collective decision-making skills, it was now, as the massed ranks waited with bated breath for the pronouncements. The large number of schools and students made this a packed programme, and only by strict time management (with only two questions for each of the speakers) was the timetable able to be adhered to.
The list of competitors, showing the eventual winner, runners-up and commended speakers, is as follows:

Competitors/Topics/Running order
West Hatch High School
1 Jake Groce: Not so social media
2 Joseph Mulvihill-Young:  The beautiful ugly game COMMENDED

Corelli College
3 Abdulla Suleiman: Is the media the biggest influence on body image today?
4 Matthew Brown: What is the perfect body image?

Merchant Taylors’ School
5 Selvan Senthilkumaran: Education – a fundamental human right
6 Michael Wyeth: Is social media a drug? WINNER

Public Speaking Competition winner 2016

Latymer Upper School
7 Sky Lewis: “Why it’s ‘Black lives matter’ not ‘all lives matter’” RUNNER-UP
8 Daniel Tamary-MacLeod: The inconvenient truth about climate change. RUNNER-UP

James Allen’s Girls’ School
9 Clara Falcowska – ‘Swimming against the tide’ (about individualism)
10 Nikita Patil – ‘Assumptions and presumptions’ (about stereotypes)

Ibstock Place School
11 Steven Agiasotis “How Social Media has Impacted Human Relations” (Year 11)
12 Emily Jorgensen: “Artificial Intelligence: Bliss or Abyss?” (Year 10)

Mulberry School
13Zaynab Abdulle – Anti-social Media
14 Tamanna Islam – Domestic violence

Little Ilford School
15 Lukenny Tinta (year 11) – Average
16 Zeynab Mujahid (year10) – The struggle of growing up

It was a particular pleasure to reward the outstanding efforts of the latest schools to join this competition. Increasingly - and something which we warmly commend - schools select their finalists from internal heats, and where this was done the benefits, in terms of both presentation and communication skills and command of arguments and evidence, were undeniable.

As always the vibrant atmosphere of the evening was felt to particularly good effect during the interval, when the judgely huddle deliberated, cogitated and digested while students from the diverse schools mingled freely with each other and with members of the audience and enjoyed excellent refreshments from the hands of Gresham's staff. Their lively conversations were brought to an end by the announcement that the time of reckoning had arrived: the fact that it had been so close a call was abundantly evident - and then it was time for what has become a veritable classic: the shrewdly perceptive and consummately practical debrief, delivered with exemplary elegance by Liveryman Lyn Williams. Students were agog, hanging on - and in some cases (female cases, that would be) writing down assiduously - the sage advice for future use.  Interestingly, whereas often these comments had focused on technical aspects of delivery, this time these were mostly so assured (confident, clear projection and engagement with the audience showed skills way beyond the speakers' ages) that we were left to reflect on how they could create a compelling argument and deploy convincing evidence rather than simply how to connect with their listeners. This exposition was an education.
These events do not happen without hard work and careful preparation, both from the schools (some of which had invested much time in sifting keen aspirants) and from the organisers - a fine team effort on the night both from the judges and from Pam Taylor's able helpers: Renter Warden Ann Bell and Pat Sales.

David Taylor




page last updated 6 February, 2017

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