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Beyond the classroom

Learner voice, leadership and character development

For schools to be places where children thrive, it is vital that we listen to and act upon the voices of children and young people and provide opportunities for them to become confident, articulate individuals.

All Anthem schools have pupil councils and many have student leadership groups. These groups meet regularly with members of the school’s senior leadership team and representatives of Anthem to discuss their suggestions for school improvement. We also regularly survey learners to seek their feedback.

Speak Up!

Speak Up! is an annual public speaking and debating competition for Anthem students in Years 7 to 13. It is designed to support and promote oracy in our schools and help students develop:

  • A clear, concise, confident speaking voice that will help them to be successful in many jobs, beyond just the interview, and in their personal life

  • Effective communication, which requires careful listening as well as clear speaking

  • Confidence

  • Persuasiveness

  • Critical thinking

  • Interest and expertise in specific fields

  • Self-awareness and conviction; knowing their mind (and being willing to change it)

  • Self-discipline and organisation

  • Enhanced academic progress

In the summer term, teams from each of our five secondary schools come together for a grand cross-Trust event, to see who will be crowned Speak Up! champions for that academic year.

In previous years, Speak Up! finalists have enjoyed the hospitality of St John’s College and Somerville College at the University of Oxford, gaining an insight into academic life at these historic institutions. When the pandemic struck, we moved Speak Up! online and hosted our very first virtual competition in the summer of 2021. Summer 2022 saw us return to Oxford where the contest was hosted by the wonderful Mansfield College.