Remove Formers Giles Halsey and Toby L’Estrange and Fifth Former William Roberts took to the lectern to compete in the national final of the ESU Churchill Public Speaking Competition.

The three boys, who regularly attend the school’s Debating Society took the roles of chairperson, questioner and speaker in the team. This year, the competition was held over Zoom, which presented its own unique challenges, but the boys did not let these deter them!

All three boys performed extremely well. They demonstrated the ability to look anyone in the eye, make them feel welcome and deliver thoughtful contributions, skills we look for in all our boys.

Giles spoke powerfully on the Churchill quote, “If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.” Toby and William were the chairperson and questioner for a speaker from the opposition who gave a talk on the topic: ‘Is Twitter making a nonsense of discussion or opening our eyes to the views of others?’.

Toby told us, “The part I love about debating is hearing what other people have to say about topics and arguing about their views. What I found most challenging was adapting to how the judges were reacting while also making notes in real-time on what the speaker was talking about.”

The art of public speaking helps boys in all aspects of their schoolwork, and is a life skill invaluable to them throughout their careers and, indeed, social lives.

Mr Hopton, Head of English, who runs the Debating Society and helps the boys develop their debating style, said, “What was particularly admirable was how the boys helped one another in their preparation. They took time to reflect on previous debates, giving one another feedback, which was extremely valuable to help them improve. They worked very collaboratively, and I am very proud of the boys.”

Back to all news