Plucky Newham pupils take to stage to make speech

School pupils during a speech making competition at the town hall

School pupils during a speech making competition at the town hall - Credit: Archant

The next Martin Luther King or Malala could be among us after schoolchildren took to the stage in the first Newham primary speech making competition.

Unfazed by large crowds or the huge room at East Ham town hall, children as young as eight recited speeches before a panel of judges.

Round one saw pupils perform famous speeches off by heart and in round two they delivered speeches they had written themselves, entitled: “If I were Prime Minister for a day”.

An expert panel comprising of members of the LA, Institute of Education and an ex advisory teacher judged the competition and over 20 speeches were heard on January 14.

“It was a brilliant day and the children loved being on stage,” said Sukwinder Samra, Head of Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance.

“They were all absolutely enthralled, you could hear a pin drop in that room. They really tried to draw their audience in and they memorised the whole thing by heart.

“I think our children are the future and they need to come from areas like Newham. This is a way to get children and families to have aspirations and public speaking is a key skill.”

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Sukwinder, 50, said it instils confidence in children and encourages them to read, research and “make texts come alive”.

“It also gives them great inter-personable skills about how we influence others by our tone and body language.

“Private schools have been doing this kind of thing for centuries, we need to as well.

“We’re offering them what private schools offer and we’re certainly going to build on this.”

The day was organised by Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance in Forest Gate and they plan to hold the event again next year.