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Smithdon High School

Spelling Bee Competition 2024

Students across four West Norfolk secondary schools, including ours, battled it out in the closing rounds of an annual spelling competition.

This year’s West Norfolk Academies Trust Spelling Bee Final took place at Springwood High School in King’s Lynn.

It was the fourth time the competition had been held, and both first and second places this year went to St Clement’s High Year 7 students, with Toby Bunting just pipping Evie Neill to the post.

“Toby was calm and confident throughout, and I have no doubt he could have gone on to spell more and trickier words,” said Gemma Coker, the school’s librarian. “He’d even practised, and could spell perfectly, ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’.”

“Evie successfully spelt words such as ‘fraction’, ‘protocol’, and ‘abstraction’, but finally lost in the final two to the word ‘infinite’,” she continued. “Evie said she knew exactly how to spell the word, but the nerves got to her.

“The highlight for Evie, I think, was when being awarded her prize – Mrs Murkin mentioned to the 250-plus crowd that it was Evie’s birthday and started off a very loud rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Evie. She was most embarrassed!”

Each finalist received a super-sized chocolate bar, while Toby was awarded a Kindle Fire, along with an engraved trophy for St Clement’s.

Students from Springwood High School in King’s Lynn, Marshland High School, in West Walton, St Clement’s High School, in Terrington St Clement and Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School, all took part.

Having already made it through the in-house stages of the contest, eight Year 7 and 8 pupils – two from each competing school – faced one another in the final of the challenge, which was organised by English Lead for the Trust, Sarah Murkin.

The event was hosted by Elly Kyasiima, English teacher at Springwood, with Stefan Leverton, who also teaches English at the school, reading out the words for the contestants to spell.

“Each of the four schools in the Trust held rounds in Years 7 and 8,” explained Mrs Murkin. “Those students with the highest scores in spelling tests for the competition were selected to represent their schools in the final.”

“Competition in learning is essential as it encourages learners to strive for excellence,” added Mrs Murkin. 

“The competitive environment motivates learners to push themselves further, setting higher goals and standards for themselves. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity, improved performance, and better exam results.

“They will take these skills and, more importantly, these experiences through their lives.

“WNAT value highly the participation in competitions, covering a range of them in our many schools.”