Success for St Clement Danes at Public Speaking Competition

Congratulations to Kristina McDougall, Nayna Pandya and Katherine Willis in Year 9 for taking home the Junior trophy in the inaugural Danes Educational Trust competition which took place on Thursday 15th June at Croxley Danes School.

The winning team chose to debate the topic “Should we separate the art from the artist” and the judges were impressed by both the content of their speeches but also their confident and professional delivery. Mrs George, who worked with the team to help them prepare, described their commitment and hard work in preparing. Everyone agreed that they were worthy winners.

Teams from Chancellor’s, Croxley Danes, Elstree Screen Arts Academy, Onslow St Audrey’s and St Clement Danes converged to speak on their respective topics, all of which were chosen by the team members themselves and proved extremely engaging and thought provoking. Students competed across two age categories - Junior (years 7-9) and Senior (years 10-12), with 20 competitors in the Junior division and 9 in the Senior, including reserves and speech writers who also attended in support of their fellow team members.

For many competitors, this event was their first experience of public speaking and the sense of achievement each and every individual felt from standing up and being heard radiated through the room. All students displayed great courage and confidence in their speeches and in representing their schools. The evening was a new opportunity for students and teachers to engage with people they otherwise wouldn’t have met and were encouraged to socialise in small talk during a much appreciated tea.

The judging panel was composed of Anne Pickard (former Head of English at SCD), Fiona Shore and David Tobin; three individuals from a wide variety of career backgrounds, ranging from the BBC, to local councils who all started their careers as secondary school teachers. Fiona Shore said she found it “inspiring to see the various teams trying so hard and supporting each other”. Anne Pickard similarly commented on the “very warm atmosphere… The students enjoyed the whole experience.”

Nicola Spencer, DET Oracy Lead and event organiser, was thrilled by the response of the young people and the way that they overcame nerves to stand up and speak. She concluded the evening by awarding engraved glass trophies to the SCD Junior team and the winning Senior team from Croxley Danes to warm applause.

All teams demonstrated a refined understanding of their topics, displaying gripping dialogues on relevant subject matter, and we would like to congratulate everybody who participated. The youngest team were also from St Clement Danes - On-Yu Chiu, Odette Turner and Lois Bance Percy in Years 7 and 8 did brilliantly, speaking in public for the first time on their topic, ‘Private schools should be abolished’.

Our greatest thanks goes to all involved in this wonderful evening, including all teachers and parents who offered their support throughout the whole process, the prefects who performed a wonderful job in timing and keeping the event running smoothly and for Croxley Danes for hosting. 

Words by Elke Acornley (Year 12 English prefect) with additional material by Nicola Spencer.




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