Success at Public Speaking Competition

30 November 2023

As part of our Academic Enrichment programme, our pupils often participate in external competitions. This week it was our pupils’ debating skills that were put to the test at the Youth Speaks competition organised by Thatcham Rotary Club.

Six teams of pupils from four local schools gathered together at Mary Hare School for the first round of this public speaking competition. The contest brought up many complex ideas for the teams to tackle, including animal testing, abortion, AI, and the rights of ethnic groups to self-determination.

Each team of three had one speaker proposing a motion, one opposing and one chair. Plenty of conviction was shown by all the teams, and credit went not only to the knowledgeable and persuasive speakers for and against, but the chairs for how they framed the debates and summarised each side’s key points with such balance and clarity.

For Downe House, our pupils entered the Senior category. All from the Lower Fifth (Year 10), we had Olivia proposing, Pippa opposing and Alice chairing.

The girls spoke eloquently and convincingly on the motion that ‘Social media has improved human communication.’ They held the audience’s attention throughout with their confident blend of thorough research, purposeful delivery and humour.
– Mr Alasdair Matthews (Teacher of Classics)

Against other teams that all included more experienced Sixth Form speakers, we are proud to say that the Downe House team were judged the winners of this round and came back to School with their trophy.



A huge congratulations to Olivia, Pippa and Alice! We wish them luck as they go forward to the second regional round which will be held during the Lent term.

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