PRIMARY schools in East Cornwall are practising hard for the local Youth Speaks competition on Wednesday, February 4 at Callington Primary School.

Hundreds of youngsters take part in the competition, starting at 5pm, run by the Rotary Club every year, which takes the form of regional heats followed by a national final. The majority are categorised into junior, intermediate and advanced age groups.

The competition encourages speaking and presentation skills in young people and showcases superb quality speakers.

East Cornwall schools taking part in the junior section this year are Callington, Stoke Climsland, Calstock, Harrowbarrow, St Mellion and St Dominic. Last year's champions Harrowbarrow will have a hard task defending their title against the stiff competition.

The top two junior teams will go forward to the eastern area semi-final for Cornwall, which will be held on Wednesday, February 11, at Callington Community College at 6pm. They will compete against teams from Plymouth, Tavistock, Saltash, Bude, Liskeard, Looe and Launceston.

It will not just be the juniors that compete; intermediate and senior teams also have the chance to compete on February 11 and if successful will go onto a regional final (South West England) and potentially the national final. Tavistock College has, over the years, had a number of teams reach the national final and on one occasion even won the event.

The public are most welcome to watch on the night. There is no admission fee.