Registration for our 2021-22 national competitions is now open. Please click here to register and scroll down for key dates and other info

ESU COMPETITIONS

Debating Tournament
for Schools

Requires students to develop arguments and think on the spot,
while expressing their ideas with confidence

WHAT: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales

AGE: Years 9-11

HOW: Registration open now

WHEN: Registration closes on 1 October

WHAT: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales

AGE: Years 9-11

HOW: Registration open now

WHEN: Registration closes on 1 October

English Writing
Competition

The English Writing Competition allows students to develop their creative writing skills, English as well as helping them to structure their thoughts and build an argument in

WHAT: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales

AGE: Years 9-11

HOW: Registration open now

WHEN: Registration closes on 1 October

Public Speaking
Competition

Public speaking is an essential skill that students will need in both
their academic and professional lives.

WHAT: Largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales

AGE: Years 9-11

HOW: Registration open now

WHEN: Registration closes on 1 October

INTERNATIONAL ORACY TEACHER AWARD

FORMER HEAD OF CHILEAN SCHOOL WINS ESU INTERNATIONAL ORACY TEACHER AWARD

«The success of oracy education depends on the efforts and expertise of dedicated, knowledgeable teachers»

  • What: Award recognising excellence and outreach in oracy education
  • Prize: Monetary grants to the winning teacher(s) and to the nominating ESU
  • When: Applications are open from December 2020 to 28 February 2021. The winner is announced in March 2021

IN BRIEF

The English-Speaking Union’s International Oracy Teacher Award is the only award of its kind which recognises excellence and outreach in oracy education across the globe. If you teach English to children between the ages of five and 18, this is your chance to tell the world about the work you do, and the difference it makes. We encourage individual teachers to apply (with a supporting reference from your local international ESU) and we also invite International ESUs to promote the competition among their networks.

WHY ENTER

  • Prestigious award from respected international organisation
  • Win a monetary grant to further your teaching practice
  • Support wider promotion of spoken English language learning via a cash prize to your local ESU
  • Boost profile of English language learning in your school/area
  • Promote use of English as a way to share views and opinions
  • Excellent promotional tool boosting your personal profile and helping your school to attract more students

PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS

«Public speaking taught me that if you speak effectively, people will listen. That’s intoxicating»

 
RORY BREMNER
Comedian and winner of the Public Speaking Competition 1979

It’s widely acknowledged that, for many of us, public speaking is right at the top of the list of things we fear most. But it doesn’t need to be like this. Above, you can watch impressionist, comedian and former ESU Public Speaking Competition winner Rory Bremner share his top tips; while we add a few of our own, below. 

PUBLIC SPEAKING TIPS

  • Be prepared
    Researching your subject will give your speech a real boost. Be sure though, that your research supports and helps your ideas and arguments, rather than replacing your thoughts with ‘what the internet says’.
  • Use notes
    A few notes are hugely helpful, but nothing is more boring than someone reading a script. Just jot down key words, quotes, statistics and reminders for your planned style of delivery. Remember to write large enough to see easily.
  • Move about – but not too much
    Less is often more when it comes to movement. Gestures can be every effective in reinforcing your points, but avoid walking about or moving too much as this can be distracting.
  • Make eye contact
    Eye contact is crucial, as it makes your audience feel that you are talking directly to them and helps hold their attention. Try to look at every person individually at some point, particularly if there is tiered seating
  • Practice makes perfect
    Once you’re happy with your material, practice delivering it in different ways to see which works best. Don’t overdo it though, if you rehearse too much, you may lose some spontaneity or it may sound over-polished
  • Be yourself
    Let your own interests, expertise and personality shine through. Whatever your subject, this is your chance to express yourself, and an authentic performance is always the most compelling.
  • Nerves are natural
    Don’t worry if you feel a bit nervous in the lead-up to or during your speech. Everybody feels nerves and you can’t eliminate them completely, instead, you can learn to use the emotion to your advantage. Take lots of deep breaths, trust your preparation and use the extra energy to deliver your words – you’ll be great!

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Teaching our children that they can agree to disagree, that’s so important.

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