Birmingham and Coventry Speak Out Challenge

Giving young people in the West Midlands the confidence and opportunity to speak up on the issues that matter to them.

The Birmingham and Coventry Speak Out Challenge is designed and delivered by Speakers Trust to encourage Year 10 students to develop public speaking and communication skills as well as build self-esteem and confidence. Now in its 7th year, over  900 young people in state schools in Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull will take part in the 2023-24 Challenge. 


How it Works: 

During the academic year, schools receive a subsidised one-day, expert-led workshop in public speaking and communication skills. The student’s confidence in speaking to an audience, without notes, is measured at the beginning and at the end of the day. During 2021-22, 68% of students increased their confidence to stand up and talk to a group of people. 

“The Speak Out Challenge equips students with the tools they need to present themselves and their opinions with confidence. It helps students to develop skills that they will use for the rest of their lives, and find confidence they never previously knew they had.” Teacher, Waverley School January 2022 

After the workshop, selected students enter the regional public speaking competition – sharing their speeches in school at their Assembly Final and later at the Regional Final. Speeches will be watched by a panel of local VIPs and decision-makers and students will have the opportunity to share their message even further using Speakers Trust social media platforms. This helps to raise aspirations for students and the profile of young people in the community. 

“The Speak Out Challenge supports more than young people’s employment and career paths, they help build skills for life – ones that will empower participants to thrive at school, at home and in their communities now and in the future. We are incredibly proud of all the young people who have taken the challenge in the West Midlands this year, and wish them a world of opportunity and success in the years to come.” –MARIE FRYERS, HEAD OF HR ADVISORY, HSBC UK AND SPEAK OUT CHALLENGE JUDGE 2022


74% of students increased their ability to present ideas in an effective way when speaking in front of a group 

93% of students have learnt skills they can apply in the next stage of their education, training and employment 

76% of students increase the extent to which they feel their opinions and beliefs are heard and valued 


Schools in the Local Authorities of Birmingham, Coventry and Solihull are eligible for this subsidised programme.

The subsidised cost to schools is £200 per workshop for 25-30 Year 10 students. This includes a space in the competition. This is a third of the cost, thanks to the funding we have available.

The programme is funded by HSBC, and Aim Higher (funding 23 of their affiliated schools).


Watch this film to hear from some young people and teachers about the Speak Out Challenge.

Take a look at moments from the Birmingham and Coventry Speak Out Challenge Final 2023 in this video.

To get your school involved: 

Contact for more information or fill out this form to guarantee your space in the 2023-24 Birmingham and Coventry Speak Out Challenge.


West Midlands Final 2022 at the MAC

The students completed their speaking endorsement for their GCSE’s this week and due to the programme we have more students that have achieved merits and distinctions than in previous years, the students felt ready to deliver their speeches and answer questions about them, they even used the scaffolds from the sessions to replan and revise their talking points prior to delivery.

Deputy Head, Beacon High School

It was an enjoyable and productive day. The students were amazing and gave phenomenal speeches

Teacher, Graveney School

My students have experienced something quite rare – the space to think and the freedom to speak about hopes and fears in an entertaining, mutually respectful and intellectually dynamic workshop. Many thanks

Cathy Haslam, Teacher

Participating in the Speak Out challenge gave me huge confidence to find my voice and be able to communicate effectively. I benefited massively as I went through my education, and continue to do so day to day in my professional career. It no doubt set me up for success!

Max Winston, Chief of Staff, Monzo

The Speak Out challenge gave me a voice that I never knew that I had. It has played an integral part in boosting my confidence and also gave me a multitude of essential life skills that I constantly apply in my day to day life. That is why when the opportunity to become an Alumni Ambassador was offered to me, I felt so honoured to become a part of this wonderful process and hopefully help others gain these invaluable life skills and find their own voice.