Two Moreton Hall families made the journey to the Bishop’s Palace at Worcester Cathedral for the English Speaking Board’s ‘Young Speaker of the Year 2016’ presentation. For Lucy (U5) the occasion was to celebrate her success as a runner up in the ESB’s Sixty Second Shakespeare Competition in which, as part of Shakespeare 400, competitors learned and performed a Shakespeare Sonnet of their choice. For Harriet (U6) the occasion was to mark her achievement in being awarded ESB Young Speaker of the Year for her performance in the Advanced Certificate in Language Arts examination as part of Moreton Hall’s Lower Sixth ESB programme. In keeping with the Shakespearean theme, Harriet’s presentation and performance was entitled ‘All the World’s Stage: the Life and Times of Britain’s Greatest Playwright’ and included extracts not only from the Bard but by those inspired by him, including a monologue from Tom Stoppard’s ‘Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead’.
Gathered for lunch, we were treated to performances from the five Young Speakers of the Year, as well as from the Sonnet competition winner and runners up: it was a real banquet of Spoken English from worthy winners.
Also addressing the guests was an inspirational head teacher and ESB trustee, Avril Newman. Avril’s primary school in the East End of London is attended by 350 children of whom 85% speak English as a second language and for whom many, especially the girls, the old adage that children should be seen and not heard, is still very much the cultural norm. Avril’s description of the ESB journey and the way lives can be changed, as a result of the experience, was moving and inspiring: a real reminder of how very lucky we are at Moreton Hall to have Spoken English so central to what we do and to have Miss Merriel Halsall-Williams and Mrs Mags Jones to guide and mentor our girls.