On Tuesday 30th January, Year 5 and 6 pupils from The Midsomer Norton Schools’ Partnership gathered at Norton Hill School for the first annual “Speak Out!” competition. Teams of three pupils from Clutton Primary School, Midsomer Norton Primary School, Trintiy Church School, Welton Primary School, High Littleton CofE Primary School, Longvernal Primary School and Dundry Primary School entertained the audience of over one hundred people, with their well written and executed debates on a range of subjects. They delivered their speeches with confidence and composure well beyond their years, inviting us all to consider if children under the age of eleven should use the internet; who was responsible for the sinking of the Titanic; if zoos are prisons for animals and whether we should ban all plastics. Arguments for and against each of their chosen topics really made the audience think – with many people changing their views and opinions over the course of the evening after some heartfelt and passionate speeches. There was a very convincing argument given by High Littleton pupils that Donald Trump is a political and financial genius - thought provoking indeed, especially from the perspective of 10 and 11 year olds! The teams were further challenged by questions from the audience which they carefully considered before offering their responses.
The judges on the evening, Alun Williams (CEO MNSP Academy Trust), Tom Herron (Head of English- Norton Hill), Graeme Savage (Bath Theatre Royal and Merriman Theatre Group), and Julia Battersby (Director of Learning: The Partnership Trust) had a very difficult task on their hands when considering which teams to choose as the runners-up and the winners. They took into account the content, manner of presentation and impact of the debate presented by each team. Mr Herron was amazed at the high standard of public speaking on display, commenting that the children were meeting many of the criteria for speaking at GCSE level already. After much debate and deliberation, Longvernal School were announced as the runners up due to their excellent arguments, detailed knowledge and mature style of delivery. The winning team of Lucy, Amelie and Elliot from Welton Primary School thoroughly deserved the applause they received after their convincing debate on fines for dropping litter, showing sincerity, a passion and grasp of their topic and overall team strength. Their chairperson, Lucy, was clearly in charge of the proceedings and held the audience in the palm of her hands. The evening was a huge success and thanks go to all the schools who attended and the parents who came along to support.
Alun Williams said, “The standard of public speaking was incredibly high and we look forward to this becoming an annual event in the Trust schools’ calendar – congratulations to all those who took part.”