'Pupils achieve high levels of sporting and artistic success in local, and sometimes national, events.' Ofsted


Success for DGS at the Winston Churchillís Public Speaking Competition

On Tuesday 14th March, the Didcot Girls’ School Public Speaking team travelled down to Blenheim Palace to compete in the Winston Churchill Public Speaking competition. We were all extremely excited, as it was an amazing opportunity to not only show our talent in Public Speaking, but also to meet Her Grace, the Duchess of Marlborough and Lady Henrietta Spencer-Churchill, Winston Churchill’s great granddaughter.

When we arrived at the grounds, we were shown to a grand room, the Marlborough room,  where the event would take place. The judges sat to the left and the speakers had to stand on a lectern in the front of the hall, looking out at the audience. In our category there were eight schools presenting, a mixture of independent and state schools. Each school was represented by a Chair and two speakers and each team had to deliver their speeches, which were based on a famous saying by Winston Churchill, which they had chosen from a list prior to the event.

We were the third school to present, with two independent boys’ schools before us. They delivered their speeches very confidently and the content was maturely read. This made us all feel a little nervous – it was a hard act to follow!   Then it was time for our speech, which was based on the saying “Never confuse leadership with popularity”.  We were very nervous when we went up, but as soon as we started speaking, all went well. Amelie Marah was the chair and opened our presentation, then passing to Elizabeth Cairns and Isabelle Langley to deliver their speeches, before asking for questions from the panel. The questions were difficult, particularly one about Brexit, which Elizabeth answered amazingly well!

When all the schools had spoken, we were able to hear some feedback before the winners were announced. Our feedback was very positive and the panel had been very impressed that we presented without notes, and had confidently projected our voices.

After collecting our certificates,  and a book for the school library about Blenheim Palace, it was time for the winners to be announced.  We were thrilled, gobsmacked, amazed, happy and over the moon when they announced that the winner of the 2017 Winston Churchill Public speaking competition was Didcot Girls’ School! But the success didn’t stop there because our own Elizabeth Cairns won the award for the best speaker! The whole team and parents who had come to support were so happy and proud to be taking the prize back to the school.

The team came away from Blenheim Palace with amazing feedback from the judges and huge smiles on their faces. It was an amazing experience and one to be repeated next year, when we go back to compete again.

Isabelle Langley

Year 8

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