Y8 English Speech Competition


Y8 English Speech Competition

After studying a play in English about inequality within the class system in the 1970s, students were given the opportunity to research and write a speech about equality: to challenge the concept of privilege and to prove how somebody’s background does not stop them from being successful!

The teacher of each English class had the difficult decision of choosing one speech to be entered into the competition. It was a tough decision to choose the winners and ultimately, we have two winning speeches this year! Congratulations to Lydia, Millie, Alfie and Esa and well done for your hard work! 


‘Where somebody comes from or how much money they have isn’t important. We are all capable of being successful in life if we work hard to achieve our goals.’  

Money can’t buy everything. No matter your background or your upbringing, you can still achieve anything. Your upbringing doesn’t affect your achievements in life and anyone can be successful no matter how much money you have or how good your upbringing is. 

Money can’t buy everything. We can all achieve anything no matter our background. Money can’t buy grades. Some things can’t be taught, not even grammar schools can guarantee good grades. Without hard work, nothing can be achieved. An expensive education doesn’t always guarantee a good outcome. It is proven that children living in poor urban areas achieve similar grades to people living in rich rural areas. Hard work and determination equate to great outcomes. Money can’t buy everything. 6% of children got grade 9 in their GCSEs and the majority of these came from state schools. 

Bill gates is best known for inventing Microsoft and makes 33 million dollars a day even though he came from a working-class background. After dropping out of college at aged 16, no-one believed in him. They thought he couldn’t do it but money can’t buy everything. Hard work and determination can achieve great things. Bill Gates is a prime example of a person who didn’t allow their background to hold them back. J.K Rowling, the author of Harry Potter, is now a millionaire but she grew up living in poverty. They were all against her. She had no money but pure hard work got her to where she is. She proves money doesn’t get everything and we can all achieve anything we want. 

Success is different for everyone. For one person, a small achievement such as getting a job could be success but to others, success can be different and so everyone can achieve anything and be successful no matter your background. Money can’t buy a job or a successful career, only hard work and determination can achieve this. 

Success can be achieved by any of us. Your background doesn’t affect how successful you are in life. 

Millie Bowen, Alfie Edwards & Esa Hussain 

‘Where somebody comes from or how much money they have isn’t important. We are all capable of being successful in life if we work hard to achieve our goals.’ 

So, how are you all today? Feeling alright? Good. You know, on a scale of 1-10, how successful do you think you are in life? How did you get to this stage? Some people might say they are successful because of their rich family or that they are unsuccessful because of their poverty. However, I beg to differ, and here’s why. 

Many people believe grammar schools are only for ‘privileged’ students and to give them a chance. On the other hand, people believe that students from state schools do not have good qualifications or are just simply not so privileged. 

However, research conducted by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) found that children who attended state schools achieved almost the same GCSE results as those who attended grammar schools. So, would you look at that? Maybe wealth does not matter. Maybe being poor doesn’t matter. Maybe it doesn’t matter where you come from or what your background is. Maybe we all need to realise that it’s education and hard work that matters, not wealth, not background, not what school you go to. So, grammar schools may not be as ‘prestigious’ and ‘privileged’ as we once believed. 

But do you know what else? Grammar schools are actually damaging to social mobility and students’ mental health. Grammar schools are very selective, we know that, but that’s the problem. Students from state schools feel sad or even worthless or stupid that they are not as smart or as privileged as those who attend a grammar school. 

Only picking students who are wealthy or privileged damages social mobility. People who are working class may never get to a higher class because of this. 

People have called for the government to phase out grammar schools as they are damaging socially. Increasing selection in school systems is very dangerous for equality in society. So really, grammar schools are no better nor worse than state schools. 

Now let’s talk about university. Have you ever been to university? Have your friends or family been to university? Well consider yourself lucky if you have. There are people, dying people on the streets, in rotten flats, council houses etc, that would do anything to get a place at university; to no longer be in such a cold, damp, black hole, pulling them further away from what they truly desire. 

That was a few years ago but now, universities have finally decided to generously give places to those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A fifth of 18-year olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are given places in the UK, a record high number of poor teens finally getting a chance at life. Finally, that awful black hole of poverty and despair loosens its grip and let’s them free. Participation in both high and low education has narrowed. Soon enough, there will be no poor people. Poverty and poor participation will be eradicated. If we try, we will all become equal. 

Those from wealthier, ‘happier’ backgrounds often see wealth as a sign of intelligence and hard work but view poverty as a product of stupidity or laziness. However, they are mistaken. People may be born into poverty or are a victim of scams. 

There are many famous people who have come from a disadvantaged background. Alan Milburn was the first in his family to go to university. Janet Owen Driggs, a working-class writer was brought up in poverty and describes it as cold and damp. This shows, this shows, this shows, that no matter what background you have, hard work will end in success. 

Lydia Gall 

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