From the outset children are encouraged to present their ideas to an audience; we aim to enhance their confidence and clarity of speech. In class the children tell their peers about favourite possessions or share experiences in organised situations. They lead the department in termly assemblies, sharing readings, thoughts and stories. Everyone takes part in discussions and circle time where they are taught to listen carefully and respect the opinions of others. All such activities offer opportunities to extend and develop vocabulary and to judge the effectiveness of communication.

This effectiveness is developed in the St Hugh’s Forest School Programme where children work to become confident and considerate leaders. Participating in activities at home and in school encourages reflective thought, further enriching vocabulary as new ideas are explored. In Middle School the pupils have further opportunities to speak formally to large groups at events such as Harvest Festival.

In Upper School we seize opportunities to speak publicly as well as during lesson time. We have successful debating teams and public speakers who win prestigious competitions.

Our annual Reading Competition, entered by every child in Middle and Upper School, is a source of great delight and always produces surprises and establishes new enthusiasms. Melodrama and humour dominate the children’s choices, as shown in the inventiveness of our pupils presentations in The Demosthenes Public Speaking Competition at Bradfield College recently.

By offering many opportunities to discuss, speculate, justify, criticise or simply entertain we hope that our pupils will always have a voice in the world beyond St Hugh’s.