Notting Hill and Ealing High School hosted the Chrystall Prize for Public Speaking on Friday 6th March. GCSE students from Sheffield in the industrial north to Bath in the South West were joined by local politicians and media celebrities at the prestigious event.
As head teacher Lucinda Hunt remarked at the start: “We have all the [local] Parliamentary candidates here, hoping to learn a thing or two”.
The year 11 girls spoke on a variety of topics included freedom of speech, party politics and feminism. Rupa is a former student, she attended the secondary school in the St Stephens area of west Ealing from 1983-1990. Her sister, the BBC’s Konnie Huq, and a fellow ex-pupil, was also present.
A host of celebrity judges, Mel Giedroyc (writer and performer, but best known for The Bake Off), Sarah Montague (journalist and Radio 4 presenter) and Rageh Omaar (International Affairs Editor at ITV), presided over the event.
The final year GCSE students were given seven minutes to talk on their allocated subject and then grilled by their peers, teachers, parents and the candidates for a further three minutes.
“In the week of World Book Day and International Women’s Day it was great to be back. The standard of speeches was extremely high and the whole experience was quite humbling. It was easy to forget that these accomplished young women are just 15 and 16 years old. The judges were great too, their comments were witty and thoughtful”.
The winner Annie Thorpe of Bromley High School took home a book token for the value of £100 for her talk, “Are we spinning out of control?”