Viking Academy Trust public speaking competition

Winner Esme from Upton Juniors, with Bronwen from Chilton Primary second, and Willow from Ramsgate Arts Primary third

“If I ruled the world, the first thing I would do would be to….” was the thought-provoking and challenging theme that children explored in the annual Viking Academy Trust public speaking competition.

The theme tested pupils at each of the Trust schools – Upton Junior, Chilton Primary and Ramsgate Arts Primary – who held a range of heats to select speakers who presented their arguments to their schools to select the top three from each.

The final held in the main auditorium at the Royal Harbour Academy in Ramsgate saw the competitors from Year 3 to Year 6 present passionate, well-researched, and informative insights into what they would do if they held the planet in their hands.

The topics were weighty, varied and clearly meant a lot to the children who passionately discussed their views on a wide range of subjects including about ridding the world of spiders, chocolate being healthy, health care in Africa and kindness.

Their speeches had to last no more than two minutes and no props or slides were permitted. Their performances were judged on content and ideas, clarity, expression and audience engagement.

Judges gave positive feedback and congratulated every participant for the way they put across their speeches. Such was the high standard of entries that picking the best three was a difficult task for the judges.

After much deliberation the winner of the Viking Academy Trust Speakers Shield was Esme from Upton Juniors, with Bronwen from Chilton Primary second, and Willow from Ramsgate Arts Primary coming third.

The six other competitors were Ivy and Noah from Upton, Molly and Jaiden from Chilton, and Juno and Marina from RAPS.

Chilton’s Deputy Head of School Hannah Cheshire co-ordinated the challenge. She said: “At Viking Academy Trust, we recognise the impact Oracy (the art of speaking and listening) has on the life chances of our children.

“It can positively impact their mental health, academic achievement and their future employment potential. We recognise Oracy is a skill that must be actively taught in order for children to fulfil their potential.”

Michaela Lewis, Executive Head Teacher of the Trust agreed and added: “Standing up and making a presentation in front of an audience is never easy and all of the speakers did a splendid job. They all deserve the fullest praise and should be rightly proud of themselves.

“The content, style and performance of each speech shows how determined and enthusiastic each pupil was to really engage with the audience and put their concerns and solutions across in a reasoned and adult manner.

“Each of our schools embrace the development of oracy skills of talking and listening, and this is a central part of our ongoing literacy drive. Communication and inter-personal skills breed self-confidence and are vital for our children on their educational pathways into adulthood.

“The bar has been set very high for next year’s competition.”