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English Speaking Board exam success

At the very end of the summer term a group of A3s and A2s gave up their day to complete the English Speaking Board’s ‘Advanced Certificate in Spoken English’ (Grade 8) and achieved some exceptional results.

This qualification is equivalent to an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), or an IB Standard Level qualification. For a term and a half these pupils met weekly with a small group of teachers, and worked to develop a range of skills in preparation for this assessment. 

Each pupil delivered a presentation on a topic they had researched and we were treated to a wide range of stimulating and thought-provoking subjects, including the Grenfell Tower tragedy, globalisation, forced marriages, levelling up in the UK, gender bias in the publishing industry, the treatment of Uighur muslims in China, the gender pay gap and anti-Asian hate during the pandemic. 

Those involved also selected a newspaper article on a controversial issue, in order to summarise it, raise issues and lead a group discussion. Issues included the Amber Heard verdict, why Japan retains the death penalty, the overturning of Roe v Wade and the proposed deportation of illegal immigrants to Rwanda. 

The final part of the assessment was the recitation of a poem, speech or monologue, and we were treated to piece by a range of writers, ranging from classics like Shakespeare or William Wordsworth to modern writers like Maya Angelou, Sophie Hannah, Gillian Clarke and Simon Armitage. 

Assistant Head (Tutoring) Ms Quarrell, commented: "What makes ESB different from other public speaking exams is that an integral part of it is how well the candidates support and interact with each other, necessitating them listening to and engaging with each other’s presentations. They always come away having learnt lots, feeling more confident in their skills and claiming that it is the most enjoyable exam they have ever done.

"There are five possible grades for this assessment, and all our candidates achieved one of the top three grades, so they can be very proud of their efforts. Well done all!"


Ben B

Rayaan B

Dom H


Caspar B-S

Izzy G

Sophie K


Eleanor B

Delphi D

Lydia E

Phoebe I

Katie J

Clemmie M

Ophelia N

Orson O

Mia S

Maddie S

Ella W

Wilf W