Super Young Speakers!

Pupils, parents, teachers and staff gathered together to hear from the fantastic finalists in CAFOD Portsmouth’s first ever public speaking interschool competition in Maidenhead this week. 

Students from St Edmund Campion Primary and St Edward Royal Free Ecumenical School gave their final talks on the subject of Fairtrade before a panel of judges including both Patricia Opalko (Headteacher of St Edmund Campion), Rod Welsh (Headteacher of St Edward Royal Free) and Father Paul Mooney from St Edmund Campion parish.

Patricia Opalko said, ‘I was amazed at the standard!  The children were confident, fluent and exceptionally knowledgeable.’

The overall winner, from St Edward Royal Free, practised her talk on her 14 year old cousin during the half term she spent in Scotland and her family were very impressed!

Everyone that took part was awarded with a specially designed certificate and small prize for all their hard work.

CAFOD school volunteer Sharon Westby (who organised the event) said,

‘Everyone did so well. They really impressed their audience and knew their subject inside out.  Each speaker was graded on their knowledge of the topic, the talk’s overall structure, their voice, posture, gestures, eye contact, energy and enthusiasm, as well as their use of correct grammar, word selection and pronunciation.’

‘Public speaking is such an important life skill and can give pupils great self confidence.   It’s great that the pupils all spoke about Fairtrade during Fairtrade Fortnight.  It’s such an important issue as it makes a huge difference to millions of people overseas who are getting better prices, better working conditions and an all round fairer deal for their produce – well worth the extra we pay.’

‘The pupils research on the topic was very impressive indeed. One parent in the audience said they’d learned a lot from the talks and the quiz that took place whilst the judges conferred.’

‘What’s more, 2 pupils from St Edward Royal Free and 3 pupils from St Edmund Campion have now expressed an interest in speaking for CAFOD this Fast Day at our local parishes.’

How fantastic!  Our thanks go to the Headteachers, staff, parents and pupils for their very hard work and wonderful support!   And to Sharon Westby of course – our fantastic powerhouse of a volunteer – for coming up with this brilliant idea and inspiring everyone to take part. Thank you all!

For more information on Fairtrade Fortnight – please go to

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