STUDENTS from Birkenhead Sixth Form College put their public speaking skills to the test and won the regional heat of a competition organised by Rotary Club International.

The Youth Speaks contest featured 18 teams from eight different schools and colleges across Wirral.

Birkenhead Sixth Form hosted the event. Its winning senior team featured main speaker, Tom McNally, chairperson, Dean Avis and proposer of the Vote of Thanks, Wendy Garnett.

It was the college's fourth successive victory in the contest.

Tom, who studies Government and Politics, Economics, History and Religious Studies at The Sixth Form College, delivered a confident and thought-provoking speech on the topic titled ‘Press Regulation - The Road to Tyranny?’

Both Tom and Dean, who also studies Government & Politics alongside Law and Sociology, were members of winning teams in last year’s event, while Wendy, who studies Drama & Theatre Studies, English Language and Literature, Textiles and Applied Science, made her first appearance in the Youth Speaks competition this year.

Neston High School was awarded first place in the Intermediate round. Wirral Grammar School for Girls was awarded second position in both the Senior and Intermediate rounds.

Jane Cavanagh, Head of History at The Sixth Form College, supported the students in their preparation for the event.

She said: “I am delighted that our team has won for the fourth time in a row. I am so proud of all three of our speakers.

"The team has worked hard on researching the topic, writing the speeches and learning them; a great deal of hard work has gone into this performance.

"We narrowly missed getting through to the Regional Round last year, coming third in the District, so we are very excited to have another chance to progress further in the competition."

Principal Kathryn Podmore said: “All of the students that took part in the competition delivered outstanding speeches.

"It was a honour for The Sixth Form College to host such a worthwhile event which allows young people to gain confidence skills and enables them to deliver their views on subjects they are passionate about.

"I am very proud of our students and would like to congratulate all who took part, as everyone did a fantastic job."

The winning teams will now compete in the District round of the competition, to be held in March at Glyndwr University in Wrexham, which will be followed by regional stages and a national final.

The Rotary Youth Speaks competition runs as part of a youth enrichment programme, which provides extra-curricular opportunities, work and voluntary experience and short skills courses for students.

Tom McNally, President of The Rotary Club of Birkenhead, said: “For many years, the Rotary organisation has run public speaking competitions for young people.

"Public speaking is an important skill which can be drawn upon throughout life.

"Public speaking is key to life is Rotary and as always we are delighted to celebrate and promote the skills that young people demonstrate.”