Harrogate Grammar students’ success in public speaking competition

Harrogate Grammar School Year 11 students Jack Hennighan, Elliot Wright, and Will Giddings who have reached the regional finals of the ESU Churchill National Public Speaking Competition.
Harrogate Grammar School Year 11 students Jack Hennighan, Elliot Wright, and Will Giddings who have reached the regional finals of the ESU Churchill National Public Speaking Competition.
  • Debating trio won regional heat on ‘democracy has had its day’
  • Now through to Yorkshire and Humber final this month
  • Success against six teams there would mean a place at the national final

Harrogate Grammar School is through to the regional finals of a prestigious national public speaking competition.

The school’s team, Jack Hennighan, Elliot Wright, and Will Giddings from Year 11, won the contest at Silcoates School in Wakefield, with Elliot winning best overall speaker, and the trio now has a place secured in the ESU Churchill National Public Speaking Competition regional finals.

Debating coach at Harrogate Grammar James Rodger-Phillips said: “Public speaking is still one of the most important skills a young person can learn. No matter what they end up doing in their future life they will at some point have to speak in public, whether it is at a wedding or in the board room, the skills this competition teaches them will set them up for life.”

This UK-wide competition, since it’s start in 1960, has evolved to become a highly respected event providing an opportunity for young people to develop public speaking skills.

The competition is open to teams of three students in years 10 and 11 as chairperson, speaker, and questioner.

Students who participate develop their knowledge of topical issues, speaking and presentation skills, and speech writing, as well as thinking analytically.

In the regional heat the Harrogate Grammar team was up against Farnley Academy, Leeds, and Silcoates School, Wakefield, and Elliot spoke for five minutes on the topic of ‘democracy has had its day’.

Following their victory, Jack, Elliot, and Will have a place at the Yorkshire and Humber final, to be held at the Grammar School at Leeds on March 7, where they will be speaking on new topics.

Success against six teams here would mean a place in the national final in April.

The regional final starts at 1pm and tickets are £5 from the Grammar School at Leeds.