Children’s Competitions for Public Speaking and Reading Aloud

Children's Competitions for Public Speaking and Reading Aloud

Public speaking, poetry recital and reading aloud competitions and initiatives

  • Poetry by Heart – Poetry recital for 7+ through to 16-year-olds. Hold a school competition, then enter teams into a national competition. A good way to enliven this aspect of the English curriculum in KS2. KS3 and KS4. Full details here.
  • LAMDA offers a series of courses and exams, offline and online, to raise confidence and ability in public speaking, debating, discussion, acting and performance. There are resources for learners and details and guidance for teachers. Highly recommended for KS2, KS3, KS4 and KS5.
  • Slambassadors – run by the poetry society, this is a contest to find the best rappers, slam poets, spoken word artists, and MCs.
  • Rotary International public speaking competition: “Youth  Speaks
  • The Cambridge Schools debating competition.
  • The Oxford Schools debating competition.
  • English-Speaking Union – Schools Mace
  • World Debate Academy – for schools to pit their wits against worldwide debating competition.
  • Debating Matters – a debating competition for sixth-form schools.
  • CBeebies Magazine Big Reading Adventure – Primary
  • Literacy Trust Words for Work – Secondary
  • National Literacy Trust competitions page
  • The World Literacy Foundation Ambassador program offers pupils aged 16+ the chance to become an advocate for literacy and help to encourage and inspire younger children to read and write. The initiative offers training, certification and would make an ideal addition to experience evidence for UCAS form.
  • Up for Schools – a program to encourage schools to develop a school-wide approach to oracy and debate. Aimed aged secondary aged pupils.
  • Speak Out challenge – a school workshop, followed by feedback and competitive opportunities to raise confidence in public speaking. For secondary aged pupils.
  • Voice 21 – a program to encourage teaching and learning through talk, and encourage confidence to allow pupils to use their voice and ideas in real life.
  • Bar mock trial competition for pupils aged 15-18, Independent Schools mock trial competition for pupils in independent schools aged 15-18 and the Magistrates mock trial competition for pupils aged 12-14.
  • Mighty Oak runs a series of public speaking competitions for primary aged pupils, as part of a wider program of courses for schools for children aged 6-11. Note – these are paid courses.

Film competitions for children and teens

  • Quantum on the Clock invites school students in UK and Ireland, in their final two years of pre-university education to “create a video on any aspect of quantum science or technology, that is no longer than 3 minutes”. Submissions can be individual or by a team of up to four. The deadline is 8th July.
  • AAAND ACTION! – a film competition for school students across Europe. Groups of two or more students can take part and there are three age group categories – 10-12, 13-15 and 16-19. Submissions can be entered between January and June.
  • Edinburgh Schools Film Competition
  • Cinemagic Young Filmmaker Competition


For more competition ideas, have a look at our writing contests for children and teens.



About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is an experienced teacher and educational consultant who taught for 20 years in primary and secondary schools, including Woodleigh School in North Yorkshire, where he was Head of English and ran a 4000 book prep school library for pupils aged 3-13. He now reviews books for children and teens. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin