Children at St George's speak passionately
Children at St George's School, in Edgbaston, have voiced opinions and concerns about society and the environment around them, discussing subjects normally confined to adult conversation. The students were taking part in the Lines Aloud annual public speaking competition, supported by the Rt Hon Clare Short MP, last October.
The topics included ‘Footballers and their earnings', 'Does prison work?' and ‘Are the Royal Family bad for Britain?' There were also presentations based on race issues, whether to ban smoking completely, the ethics of animal testing, and several views concerning the summer riots in Birmingham.
The students at St George's School, ranging from age eight to fifteen years, had been working on their speeches since the start of term, in September. Each child had been allowed to choose the subject matter and each was encouraged to conduct meaningful research, giving consideration to both sides of the argument before reaching their own personal conclusion.
The external judging panel - DJ and radio presenter Elliott Webb, actor Colin Buchanan and the Head of English at Queenswood Girl's School in Hatfield, Paul-James Merrell - were all astounded by the arguments put forward and the passion with which the students delivered their speeches.
“It was great to see young people care enough to express themselves publicly and so passionately,” said Mr Buchanan. “Some of the subjects they chose and the content of their presentations were beyond what I had expected, especially from some of the younger children.”
“The standard was incredibly high and I was particularly amazed that children as young as twelve could speak so knowledgably about very important issues such as corporal punishment and violence on television,” concluded Mr Webb.
Headmaster, Sir Bob Dowling, also expressed his pride in the children's achievements, as he addressed the audience following the presentations. “The Lines Aloud competition is part of the school's commitment to developing and encouraging students to take a view on matters of importance and thereby grow in wisdom. It also helps students to gain confidence in public speaking."
Sir Bob went on to mention the schools outstanding results in the recent GCSE examinations and stated that the brilliance shown by the students taking part in Lines Aloud bode well for the future.
Each presentation was judged on the choice of topic, the content of the speech, the use of language and the expression and overall delivery. Winners in each year group were awarded prizes but all of those who took part were given due recognition for their hard work.