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Jack Petchey 'Speak Out Challenge' 2022-2023

The Jack Petchey “Speak Out” Challenge, is a national speaking competition for young people. Over the course Autumn Term, Year 10 receive a whole day in school public speaking workshop, delivered by a Speakers Trust trainer.

This is a part of the school’s yearly programme of activities for all Year 10 students designed to help them engage with wider society by finding their voice and training their confidence and speaking skills to enable young people to speak out on issues that are important to them. The workshops empower students to take something they are passionate about and build a persuasive speech from it.

The school is already incredibly proud of all of its Year 10s whether they opted to compete or not, the power of public speaking is important in all walks of life which is why the school so wholeheartedly believes in giving its students this opportunity.

The evening of Thursday 24th November saw the “assembly final” of Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge. This public speaking competition gives Year 10 students the opportunity to write a speech on a topic of their choice that has a positive message. Students are trained by an expert trainer from the Speakers Trust over the course of a whole day’s workshop and use their new skills to construct an impassioned three-minute speech.

The whole of Year 10 had the opportunity to participate in the event but only a chosen few were able to compete with each other from students across the school for an opportunity to progress to the next phase of the competition.

On the night, 9 speakers stood on stage in front of a crowd of parents, carers and other students from Year 10 to give their speeches in front of a panel of judges composed of teaching and non-teaching school staff. Each and every one of the speakers did a tremendous job standing up on stage in a situation which brings feelings of nervousness to even the calmest individual. It is always challenging to stand up and speak in front of your peers and people you may not know and our

speakers did brilliantly. The school is very proud of them for their courage and for the work they have put into developing their speaking skills.

Of our 9 speakers taking part in our assembly final, the school was allowed to select two winners and a runner-up. The two winners earned the chance to compete at the Islington Regional Final against students from schools across the borough with our runner-up being a reserve.  The school’s winners Waad and Emma and our runner-up Kajol were present at Central Foundation Boy’s school on the evening of 13th December with our two winners competing against 10 other students from other Islington schools.

Students from across Year 10 turned out in force to support their peers, their energy could be felt throughout the audience. Their steadfast support encapsulated what the Highbury Fields School community is about.

The competition was fierce with incredible speeches given by each of the young people competing on a wide range of evocative, thought provoking and informative topics having a very clear impact on the esteemed panel of judges who ranged from a Director at Google’s UK office to people who work in social work and a former student winner of the competition. The competition was indeed tough and once the voting was completed it was Emma who shone through with her fabulously constructed and inspirationally delivered speech about the climate crisis that the judges deemed to

be best. Emma’s speech was incredibly powerful and was a fully deserving winner but the school would also like to thank Waad who delivered her speech with passion and conviction and Kajol who, while she did not get to compete herself, was wonderful in support of the others and was ready to step in should she be needed.

Well done to everyone who took part in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge.

You can listen to Emma’s speech by using this

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