Newbury Weekly Recognises First Speakers’ Club in West Berkshire

Comittee CP and JMcG with BD Trophy
Fiona receives a prestigious award for Speakers’ Club

John McGhee presented the National Award to The Downs School Speaker’s Club Founder on behalf of Head Teacher Chris Prosser and the Youth Speaks entrants, Eirlys, Freya and Alannah.

This month, The Downs School achieved its first in the United Kingdom in recognition of its dedication to the development of young people. John McGhee, Education Officer of The Swindon Speakers’ Club, symbolically presented a National Award, The Brian Driscoll Trophy, to The Downs School Speakers’ Club. It is the first school in the United Kingdom to have an ASC (Association of Speakers’ Clubs) Speakers’ Club affiliation, founded by a member of staff, Fiona Brennan Scott, with the blessing of Head Teacher Chris Prosser.

The 2015/16 Student President, Alannah Burdess, said, ‘As a founding member of the club, I have seen it prosper and grow. Today, we have a dedicated core group of students who are passionate about public speaking, and I am proud to be one such student. Mrs Brennan-Scott is an inspiration, and I thank her for the opportunities she has given me and all of the club members. I am extremely proud to be a part of the first ever Speaker’s Club within a school associated with the ASC in Britain, and I look forward to the future.’

“If you have a dream, don’t ever give up on it,” says Mrs Brennan-Scott. “The rewards and satisfaction are enormous. 20 attendees, including a few regular staff members, put on a fantastic meeting for Mr McGhee’s visit. We meet ten lunchtimes a term and fit everything into 30 minutes! We are looking forward to presenting the first Certificate of Achievement to Year 13, Sophia Vaughan, who will have completed the ten proscribed speeches before she leaves for Oxford University in September.”

If a group wants support doing something similar, I would be more than happy to help and support you. We need our young people to have an articulate voice in society!”

The ASC started in the UK in 1971. The Swindon Speakers’ Club won both the District Award and the Nationally Awarded Brian Driscoll Trophy in recognition of its partnership with The Downs School. There are no clubs in West Berkshire at present.

The Downs School Speakers' Club pictured with Head Teacher Chris Prosser and Swindon Speakers' Club Education Officer, John McGhee
The Downs School Speakers’ Club pictured with Head Teacher Chris Prosser and Swindon Speakers’ Club Education Officer John McGhee.
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