"The quality of debating and public speaking at Blackheath High has long impressed me, as has the eagerness with which many of our girls embrace opportunities to develop this essential skill, be it in class presentations, Dragon’s Den style enterprise competitions or form assemblies. It is perhaps obvious to say, but a solid education and individual talent in whatever fields could easily remain static without the ability to sell one’s vision, or indeed oneself, to the universities and employers that will facilitate progression and opportunities to truly innovate.
It is no surprise that Debating Society remains so popular at Seniors, run by Head of Humanities Mr Gerrard for Years 7-9 and myself for Years 10-13. In preparation for national competitions, and simply for the pleasure of rational argument, weekly meetings stage debates about current affairs in Oxford and ESU formats, moot trials, and opportunities for public speaking followed by a good grilling from other Society members.
To date we have won the first round of all competitions entered thus far taking us through to the next round of the ESU Schools Mace, the regional final of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition and the final of the GDST Crystall Public Speaking Prize Elizabeth Isaac in Year 11’s fine performance. We eagerly await the first round of Oxford Schools and the ESU Public Speaking Competition, the latter of which we have twice been London Region runners up. We anticipate a particularly successful year in 2014." Mr Parsons, Assistant Head Teacher
Each Spring, the annual Greenman Public Speaking Competition is held in the School, providing an excellent opportunity for the girls to develop and showcase their public speaking skills to their peers, teachers and a guest judge.
‘I don’t know how they do it, but every year the girls’ speeches get better and better. This year, though, the pupils were remarkable for their confidence and ability to hold the attention of the audience through the use of pause and timing. They weren’t afraid to create silence before a punch line – this isn’t an easy thing to do at all.‘ Mrs Waygood, Head of English Faculty.