The Newham Spelling Bee returned for its seventh year at Elmhurst Primary, which is organised by the Newham Spelling Bee Team, (a group of dedicated teachers Miss Rehman and Mr Sheppard from Elmhurst, Miss Soyinka from Vicarage and Miss Hamida from Essex Primary Schools, Newham library services and Elmhurst Teaching School Alliance). This year’s tournament began in the spring as Newham pupils in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 were tested in their schools to select teams. Semi-finals were held in mid-June, which decided the 12 teams that would progress to the final.
On Monday, 8th July 2019, St Francis, Shaftesbury, Gallions, Plaistow, Hallsville, Star, Apex, Selwyn, Essex, Monega and Dersingham and Carpenters Primary Schools went head-to-head, with two schools competing at a time. They were tested in their year groups on spellings. Then pupils in Years 3 and 4 had to play hangman against the opposing school with Year 5 and 6 tested on word meanings. The final challenge for Year 6 pupils were “conundrums” which rearranged words for the spellers to decipher. Despite how difficult the words were the children did amazingly. They had to spell, know the meaning of and work out conundrums on words like ‘polytetrafluoroethylene’ and ‘arachibutyrophobia’, which (as we all know) is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the root of the mouth. Judge Janet Vickers called the Newham spellers, "Super dedicated to learning such difficult words."
Awarding prizes and entertaining everyone to lighten the mood was the poet Justin Coe, who wrote the super funny poetry book, ‘The Dictionary of Dads’. The children found him to be absolutely hilarious and he had them in stitches of laughter. He got them to participate in song-like poetry and even brought up teachers to perform, showing the children how much fun words can be.
St Francis Catholic Primary School children were announced as the winners, after a tie with Shaftesbury Primary School, where they had to compete against each other for the first place. Therefore St Francis Catholic Primary School won Gold, Shaftesbury Primary School won Silver and Plaistow Primary School won bronze.
All the children from all the schools did amazingly and we can’t wait to see them all again next year!