Giving Voice

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Laughter is the best medicine!

Earlier this month we hosted our inter-school Voice Box competition in Ashington, Northumberland. It was a lovely end to a busy week and we were delighted to welcome Ian Lavery, MP, and Andrew Day, Executive Director of the Northumberland Church of England Academy (NCEA) to our judging panel. All five schools participated and we invited the winner and 2 runners up from each of them. There were 3 schools from Ashington, one from Newbiggin and one from Lynemouth.
In the weeks leading up to the competition there was lots of chatter about Voice Box as I visited each of the schools. I had presented at a number of the staff meetings to encourage schools to take part and I was delighted with the enthusiasm this had created. A number of the schools sent a homework activity to find and learn a joke and staff reported that this lead to a positive uptake of homework with almost all pupils actively engaging. Each campus held their own Voice Box competition slightly differently with class based competitions, class votes and whole school assemblies.

I was excited for the final and was looking forward to welcoming parents and guests for an afternoon filled with laughter. Key Stage 2 from our host school also formed part of the audience. I briefly introduced the afternoon and then handed the stage over to the budding comedians! All of the runners up went first, followed by the winner from each of the 5 schools. While the judges were deciding their winner (with the help of a score sheet and a Giving Voice pen from their goody bag!) I welcomed Lost Voice Guy to the stage. He entertained us for 15 minutes through a funny story packed with jokes. The children (and adults!) loved him and it was great to have a Comedian join us for the afternoon.
Lost Voice Guy, Ian Lavery, Andrew Day
At the Judges table with their goody bags!

Ian Lavery announced the winner and handed out all of our medals and trophies. All the children received a medal and certificate and the winner from each school also received a trophy. Ian Lavery and Andrew Day both said a few words before I closed the afternoon and thanked everyone attending.

Medals and trophies for the children
It was a truly lovely way to spend an hour on a Friday afternoon and it was nice to be talking about and promoting the Speech and Language Skills of all the children. I’ve had lots of lovely conversations with staff in all the schools about how much the children enjoyed and engaged with it. Most of the schools took part on their No Pens Day which allowed lots of opportunity to really put Speech, Language and Communication at the top of the agenda J

All of the winners have been submitted to RCSLT now and we look forward to hearing back about whether any of them have been shortlisted for the National Final. It was also lovely to see on Twitter that Richard Burgon, MP for Leeds East, got involved with his local schools competition again too. Read about last year here.

Wishing lots of good luck to all the schools and children who have taken part this year and don’t forget if you haven’t sent in your schools winning joke yet the deadline is this Thursday 1st December! Further details from RCSLT here.