Youth Speaks


Youth Speaks is a national public speaking competition organised by Rotary.  The annual competition involves three teams from Colfox competing against Beaminster in two different age categories.

Youth Speaks 2018

Colfox Intermediate Youth Speaks team reaches the National Final

'Stop Press - The Colfox Youth Speaks Intermediate team won the regional final on Saturday and now progress to the National Finals which take place in Exmouth on Saturday 12th May. More to follow......'

After winning rounds 1 and 2 of the Rotary Youth Speaks competition, The Sir John Colfox Academy Intermediate team travelled to the Kings of Wessex School in Cheddar, to compete in the District Final.

The team of Eddie Rose, Alfred Ross and Lily Rayner are all in Year 8 and were competing against students who were a year older in many cases.  Unperturbed by the stiff competition in the shape of the other round two winners from Sherborne School, Frome Community College and The Sheldon School, the Colfox team delivered a flawless performance with their piece titled 'The Ordinary Hero'. The audience and judges were captivated by their confidence, fluency and skilful handling of the topic.  Questions from the floor were handled calmly and it was in the end no surprise that the trip of classmates came away as the District Champions.

Their prize is a place in the Regional Final which is being held at Shaftesbury on 21st April.  To win three rounds in a row is a wonderful achievement and something that has not been done in recent history.  Colfox Youth Speaks lead, Roz Ward, said:  'These students are an absolute credit to themselves and the school.  Their performances have been getting better and better and to win the District Final is no more than they deserve.  I am very proud of them.'

Unfortunately Colfox were prevented from a possible 'double' in Cheddar as the Senior A team could not take up their place in the District Final.  Having tied for first place with Beaminster School in round 1, the team comprising Manny Cox, Nat Wormleighton and Jade Farrington went on to win round 2 outright.  Jade stood in as a late replacement for round one main speaker Emily Hendry who had taken ill.  Sadly a combination of illness and unavailability meant that the team could not progress to the final but nonetheless enjoyed their experience and success in rounds one and two.

On Youth Speaks Headteacher David Herbert commented: 'This is a wonderful event that the Rotary organise every year giving so many students a platform from which to share their thoughts on very interesting topics and which gives them a chance to develop all important oracy skills.  I take my hat off to all the competitors who are brave enough to stand up in front of the judges and test themselves.  Our success this year has been amazing and Lily, Alfred and Eddie deserve huge congratulations.'

Youth Speaks 2017

The intermediate team, competing in their first Youth Speaks, were excellent throughout with Alfred Ross giving a faultless 6-minute speech with little or no reference to notes. However, they were up against a very experienced, and older, team from Beaminster who deservedly won the age group.

There was stiff competition in the senior age group with both Colfox teams giving strong performances on the night. There was a great deal of debate during the interval over which team should come out on top but in the end it was the Beaminster team that won on the night. However, for the third time in a row, Emily Hendry was given the award for best overall speaker on the night. Emily’s team was also named as runner-up which meant that they would go through to the next round to compete against schools from a wider area.

Report from our Year 10 team

We are the Sir John Colfox Academy Senior Youth Speaks team consisting of Max Jones as Chairperson, Emily Hendry as Speaker and Nat Wormleighton as Vote of Thanks. We are all in Year 10 and have being doing Youth Speaks for two years now. This year, we moved up an age category from the Intermediate age group to the Senior age group – we were competing against 15-17 year-olds. Our speech had taken a few weeks to prepare and it changed many times before we finally settled on a subject. This year our speech was titled: “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can” and was based around role models and personal goals.

In round one, at Burton Bradstock Village Hall, we were familiar with the venue from the previous year; however, we were still a little nervy as it was the first round of a new competition. We performed fairly well, with only a stutter from Max being our obvious flaw. We finished a very respectable second to a Beaminster team that performed well on the night. Second place meant we weren’t sure if we had a place in the next round or not. However, our place was confirmed in the coming days and we had another opportunity to perform at our best in the District semi-final.

This round was held at Beaminster School, where six teams were in direct competition against one another. On the night we performed exceptionally well and were extremely unfortunate not to place in the top two. The team that won were from Gryphon sixth-form who were flawless and fully deserved their win.

We were very pleased personally with our efforts this year and we hope to go one better next year and make it to the District final!