PUPILS from five primary schools in Taunton have been busy working on their performance poetry and public speaking skills.

The English working group, from the Richard Huish Trust family of primary schools (Nerrols Primary School, North Town Primary School, North Curry Primary School, Lyngford Park Primary School, and West Buckland Primary School) have been working this half term to give primary age children the opportunity to develop their oracy skills and enhance their love of poetry.

Each of the five Taunton schools ran their own public speaking competition (entitled Look Who's Talking!), in which pupils had to learn and perform a poem from memory, and deliver a four-minute presentation on a subject that they were passionate about, followed by a three question audience Q&A.

The best candidate from both lower key-stage two (Years 3 & 4), and upper key-stage two (years 5 & 6) from each school were selected as the two 'finalists' to represent their respective school at the finals evening which was held at West Buckland Primary School on Wednesday, February 7.

The finalists delivered their performances to an audience of around 40 people, in addition to a judging panel consisting of Mark Braund (Headteacher of North Town Primary School), Dora Allen (Somerset Literacy Network manager), Charlie Taylor (BBC Radio Somerset breakfast show presenter), and head judge John Abbot (CEO of The Richard Huish Trust).

Alani from Nerrols Primary School was crowned winner of the upper key-stage two category with the poem Say How You Feel and a presentation on animals.Somerset County Gazette: Betsy (left) from West Buckland Primary School and Alani (right) from Nerrols Primary School.Betsy (left) from West Buckland Primary School and Alani (right) from Nerrols Primary School. (Image: Steven Bate (West Buckland Primary School))

Betsy from West Buckland Primary School won the lower key-stage two category with the poem Smaller Ones Are Better and a presentation on The Netherlands.

Betsy was also crowned the overall winner, and becomes only the second lower key-stage two child to win the competition in its history.

Steven Bate, Senior Teacher and English Lead at West Buckland Primary School, said: "The standard of the performances and presentations were very high as the children wowed the audience with their confident and expressive delivery.

"All of the children received medals and certificates."