Royston teenager heads to parliament to speak up on importance of oracy

Iain Lynn at parliament. Picture: BVC

Iain Lynn at parliament. Picture: BVC - Credit: Archant

A Royston schoolboy’s passion for public speaking has taken him all the way to parliament this week, to be part of a special event.

Iain Lynn addresses MPs. Picture: BVC

Iain Lynn addresses MPs. Picture: BVC - Credit: Archant

Iain Lynn, a Year 11 student at Bassingbourn Village College, was invited to address MPs at a special cross-party meeting last Tuesday to promote the importance of teaching oracy skills in school.

The Speaking Up event was chaired by MP Emma Hardy and attracted a wide audience of MPs, education leaders, communications specialists and children’s minister Nadim Zahawi – and the 16-year-old was praised for his speech, which highlighted the inequality oracy skills are given in many schools.

Iain, of Melbourn Road, said: “Being invited to parliament was an amazing experience. I plan to study politics at A-level next year so being able to participate in a cross-party discussion was invaluable.”

The keen debater and public speaker was asked to attend as the English-Speaking Union’s representative.

The union is an international educational charity and membership organisation that works to bring together people of different languages and cultures in more than 50 countries, they run educational programmes, competitions and cultural exchanges to develop confident communicators, critical thinkers and empowered citizens.

Iain has won a number of competitions and is now an alumni mentor for ESU events – and his #100Reasons Twitter campaign is currently running to celebrate the centenary of the ESU.

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The hashtag came about after Iain set himself the task of posting 100 tweets about oracy to celebrate the centenary of the ESU.

He said: “I only started public speaking a couple of years ago but I have been so lucky to have the support of great teachers at Bassingbourn Village College and now the ESU.

“To me, being able to speak up is as important a life skill as being able to do maths – and yet it’s not a compulsory part of our education. “That needs to change and hopefully the Speaking Up campaign will help do that.”

Iain will continue to represent the voice of young people as part of the committee formed to move the Speaking Up campaign forward.

Follow @_iainlynn on Twitter to see what he has to say, and see for more on the ESU.