Belhaven Hill School

Co-ed Boarding & Day School for ages 5-13

Spoken English Competition 2021 Results

Spoken English Competition 2021 Results

As the front hall buzzed with excitement, the participants of the Junior Spoken English final took their places, and the parents and adjudicators found their seats. We were delighted to welcome Dr Calum Mechie, Head of English at Merchiston, and Oscar Jack, brother to one of our senior finalists and a veteran of the Spoken English final, to Belhaven as this year’s judges.

Lily began the Junior final with a comforting speech about lifelong companions – Teddy Bears! She reminded us of the vital role they play in our lives, giving us love, reassurance and security...all while looking cute! Holly followed, describing in great detail her recent bakes, and shared her dream of winning Junior Bake Off. With cupcakes, a Harry Potter cake, a chess cake, a music cake, and exploding star biscuits already under her belt, a place on Bake Off may not be far away!

Horse-riding was the theme of Iris’ speech. She took us on a journey, from tacking up to enjoying the beautiful scenery while on a ride. Isabella informed us all about humpback whales, and told a powerful story of a humpback whale that saved a vulnerable human from a menacing shark.

Rollo recounted the outstanding achievements of Olympian, Adam Peaty, and how Peaty’s extraordinary dedication and determination inspire people from all walks of life. Ottilie took us on a vivid tour of the islands of North Berwick, and allowed us to imagine the great sights and sounds of a visit to the Bass Rock. And who knew that Lamb Island is owned by Uri Geller?

Wilfred told us everything we could ever want to know about giraffes. It turns out that they have three brains and can pick their nose with their tongue. Eurgh! Charlie then took us to West Wales, a place full of glorious sweetshops and delicious seafood. We then headed south to the land of the penguins with Alexander, who highlighted the fact that their habitat is threatened by climate change.

Click here to view the Junior Spoken English Competition Final

After much discussion, the adjudicators decided that Ottilie’s well-structured, informative speech, paired with a confident delivery and a touch of delicate humour, was the most impressive on the day. Congratulations to her!

Charlie made our mouths water at the start of the Senior Spoken English final. His topic was pancakes, and we heard that it was only in the 19th century that they became as delicious as they are today. He also advised us not to put pancakes in the oven...if you do, they will probably burn, and may even explode!

Willow encouraged us to think about our futures, to imagine a world in which we could send messages to people via our thoughts, and turn the pages of our books with brainwaves. It may be that one day, 800 million years from now, we will all have to move to Mars.

Tom’s speech brought us back down to Earth with some tips and tricks that we can use today to ‘beat the buffet’. Wearing a head torch, taking two plates, and having the courage to ask for one more slice of meat can make all the difference to our buffet experience. Laurie also wanted to change his experience of something – prep! His proposal that prep should be banned was greeted with enthusiasm by the children, but not so much by the teachers!

We then headed to the other side of the world with Eliza, who shared her experiences of long-haul flights to New Zealand with her family, which included the vital responses to her father’s checklist before departure, the customary visit to WHSmith, and the crucial purchase of a bottle of Fiji water. Henry’s speech came next, and he made us pause and consider the importance of the Spoken Word in our lives, and the way in which powerful speeches have shaped the world around us.

Bee took us back in time to Tsarist Russia and the creation of the famous Fabergé eggs. Many eggs disappeared following the fall of the Tsars, and twelve are still missing. With eggs worth over £30million, it may be worth keeping your eyes peeled when you’re next at a car boot sale!

The Thursday run was the topic of Emilia’s speech. She described vividly her very first run in Form 4, and emphasised that although the Thursday run may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it does have considerable health benefits. Hester followed, concluding the Senior final with an informative, and slightly gruesome, speech about ticks, making our skin crawl as she described their vampire-like characteristics in detail.

Click here to view the Junior Spoken English Competition Final

After another debate between the judges, it was decided that Tom was the worthy winner. His well-rehearsed, polished speech was delivered in such a way that it had a conversational tone, all while being entertaining and useful to us all as we try to ‘beat the buffet’!

The quality of every speech this year was incredibly high, and it was great to see every finalist – from Form 5 to Form 1 – project their voice and perform with confidence. Having some parents in the audience added to the atmosphere of the occasion. Let’s hope that next year we can have everyone together to enjoy another set of imaginative and delightful speeches.