HOBBIES, rants and current affairs were the themes tackled by Year 7 and Year 9 pupils at The Royal School taking part in the seventh annual Stoatley Talks public speaking competition.

The final was held in the school’s QEII lecture theatre, following heats during the autumn term when students took part as part of their English lessons.

Head of English Linda Gilbert said: “As usual, we were treated to a fine display of public speaking and a great range of topics.

“Our finalists made it all look easy as they took the floor, enthusiastically supported by friends and family.

“The Year 7 topics were inspired by hobbies, the Year 8’s had a rant on the theme ‘don’t get me started on’ and the Year 9’s were expected to cover a current affairs item of their own choosing.” The winners in the different year groups were Delilah in Year 7, who spoke about her love of baking and cooking; Florence won in Year 8, speaking passionately about how irritating sand can be; and Noah was the Year 9 winner, tunring the topic brief of current affairs on its head.

The overall winner was Georgia in Year 8, who delivered a highly entertaining rant on long car journeys.

* Year 7 pupil Phoebe came third in the ages seven to 11 group in the national Short Story Writing competition: An Urgent Message. The competition celebrated the 271-mile ride of Lieutenant Lapenotière bringing the news of the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Her story will be published in a book of winning entries.