Rules, Child Protection and Safer Festival Statement


1 Language
(a) The International Oratory Festival takes place using the English language, and Standard English should be used except in any sections of a speech or performance which deliberately use colloquialisms for specific effect.
(b) We celebrate the range of accents used to speak English around the world. We encourage you to speak with your own accent, while ensuring that your pace and diction enable your performance to be understood.
2 Method of entry
(a) All entries must be made online through our website at
(b) The main entry period for the Festival closes on 17 March 2022. There may be options to sign up for further classes after this date, via our website, but this cannot be guaranteed.
(c) Payment should be made on entry using a credit card. Organisers of large numbers of entries from schools or youth groups can request an invoice at the checkout stage, or you can also enter by emailing
3 Age limit
Ages will be taken as on 17 May 2022 for the classes. Age limits, both upper and lower, must be strictly observed.
4 No professionals
Only amateurs may compete, except in the Open Classes. For the purpose of this Festival, amateurs are defined as those who are not dependent for their livelihood on the teaching or performance of music, dance or elocution. Those who receive a small stipend or occasional fee, are not debarred from competing.
5 Entry fees
(a) Entrance to each category costs £10 (GBP) and includes a programme, link for two audience members and your digital certificate.
(b) Multibuy discounts are available for individuals entering more than one category. These may not be split: only one person is covered by each multibuy discount.
6 Scheduling and order of performance
(a) The Festival will be programmed following the closing of the main entry period on 17 March 2022.
(b) All classes will be scheduled during our Festival week, which runs from Tuesday 17 to Friday 27 May.
(c) Every effort will be made to schedule classes at a time suitable for the entrants to participate within their given time zone. We will inform participants of their class by 17 April, by email. If you entered by 17 March and have not heard from us by 18 April, please contact us at
(d) If there is space in any scheduled classes following 17 April 2022, these scheduled classes will be reopened for entries until 10 May 2022. Entry will be online at
(e) In the event that you decide to withdraw from a class at any time, we do request that you inform us by email at
(b) Within each scheduled class, the organisers will decide the order of for entrants to compete and shall reserve the right to alter this order, if necessary, at any time.
7 Class sizes
(a) Where in the opinion of organisers classes are too large, they may be divided.
(b) Where in the opinion of organisers classes are too small, they may be cancelled or combined. Refunds will be given for cancelled classes.
(c) The organisers shall reserve the right to withdraw any class at its sole discretion if it is of the opinion that there is an insufficient number of entries. Competitors will be notified as quickly as possible if any class is withdrawn and their entry fees will be refunded.
8 Zoom and internet connections
(a) The Festival will take place entirely online, using the Zoom video conferencing platform. All participants will be required to have access to a computer, tablet, smartphone or other device with Zoom installed.
(b) Entrants should join the Zoom using the full name given on their online entry form. Further instructions on this will be given in the information sent to you when your class is scheduled.
(c) Entrants should enter the Zoom waiting room 10 minutes before their category starts. Entrants who are not in the Zoom waiting room when the session begins may be disqualified.
(d) During each class, the entrant should be the only person visible in the camera on their device. The camera should be oriented in landscape format, as below, not in portrait mode. The entrant should be sufficiently far away from the camera that their head, hands and upper body are clearly visible, but they should not be so far away that they cannot be heard. Wherever possible, the entrant should be in a quiet room with no background noise. Participants should mute their microphone whenever they are not performing.
(e) Entrants may choose to perform either standing or seated, as long as their head, hands and upper body remain visible.

(f) Entrants should ensure that they have a sufficiently stable internet connection to support their Zoom call. If the connection is unstable during a performance, the judge may ask the entrant to repeat all or part of their performance; this is at the discretion of the judge, and if they think that they have heard and seen enough of the performance to be able to deliver a thorough adjudication, they do not have to give entrants the opportunity to repeat their performance.
(g) In the event that an entrant’s Zoom call or connection fails completely, or prevents them joining the Zoom waiting room before the commencement of the class, The organisers will try and arrange an alternative time to hear the entrant but if that is not possible then unfortunately the entrant may be disqualified. No refund of entry fees will be possible, except where the failure of the call is directly due to the Festival organisers.
9 Audience members
(a) Each entry fee also covers the attendance of up to two audience members. These audience members should not appear in the entrant’s Zoom call, but should use a separate device.
(b) The audience members should join the Zoom using the following format: “[Name of entrant] [relation to entrant]”, for example “Christina Rossetti’s mum and dad” or “Chinua Achebe’s teacher and friend”. More information on this will be given in the information send to you when the entrant’s class is scheduled.
(c) To ensure the absence of background noise which might distract from an entrant’s performance, audience members should either:
– be located in a different room to the entrant
– both use headphones.
If the audience members can be heard in the background of the entrant’s Zoom call, the judges reserve the right to ask them to leave or be silent before continuing.
(d) The extra bandwith required by the audience members’ Zoom may overload the internet connection of those with slower connections. If the entrant’s Zoom call is unstable, the judges will first ask the audience members to turn off their video. If this does not resolve the issue, the judges may ask the audience members to leave the Zoom. No refund for the entry price will be given in this situation.
10 Zoom links and passwords
(a) The links and passwords for your classes will be emailed to you at least 48 hours before your class.
(b) If you have not received the Zoom links and passwords for your classes, you should check your email account’s junk or spam folder. If you still cannot find the information, you should contact at least 24 hours before the relevant class begins. Entrants who cannot join the Zoom call because they have not followed this procedure will be deemed to have withdrawn, and will not be eligible for any refund.
11 Solo acting class
(a) Competitors in the Solo Acting (in which competitors can make their own choice of text) must email a copy of their text for use by the judges by 1 April 2022 to Competitors entering in our second entry period should email us their text at the same time that they submit their entry.
(b) Participants in this class must not select any item prescribed as a set piece in this year’s syllabus

13 Solo acting class
(a) Competitors in the Solo Acting category (in which competitors can make their own choice of text) must email a copy of their text for use by the judges by 1 April 2022 to Competitors entering in our second entry period should email us their text at the same time that they submit their entry.
(b) Competitors in Solo Acting should wear normal clothing, and no special costumes should be worn.
14 Communicating with judges
(a) The organiser of the International Oratory Festival is the Noisy Classroom Ltd. The Noisy Classroom delivers teaching and coaching for many schools and individuals in the UK and internationally, so it is likely that some participants will have received coaching from one of our team at some point. However, no judge of any class will have worked directly with any entrant in the run up to the Festival (between December 2021 and March 2022).
(b) In the run up to the Festival, the Noisy Classroom will not offer any coaching directly related to any of the set texts appearing in the 2022 Festival, or run any sessions for entrants using any of the set or impromptu topics in the 2022 Festival.
(c) Entrants are welcome to contact for general advice about the Festival. Resources to help you prepare will also be available from January 2022 on our website at However, entrants should not ask for specific advice regarding the preparation of any particular set text or topic.
13 Adjudication sheets and certificates
All adjudication sheets and certificates will be forwarded to the registered email of the competitor after the festival.
14 Certificates and marks
The marks and criteria for the award of Certificates are as follows:
Fair (75 – 77)
A performance limited in its communication
Good (78 – 80)
A performance showing development of technique and/or communication
Merit (81 – 83)
A capable performance showing some artistic appreciation and/or technical ability
Commended (84 – 86)
A convincing performance technically and artistically
Distinction (87 – 89)
An excellent performance technically and artistically
Honours (90+)
An exceptional performance both technically and artistically
Certificates will reflect these marks and categories.
The judge will award gold, silver and bronze to the top three entrants in each class. At the judges’ discretion, they may award additional certificates to recognise excellence.
15 The Jubilee Shield and Trophy
Adjudicators will select an overall ‘Best in Festival’ each year, who will be sent a Jubilee Trophy which is theirs to keep. Their name will also be added to the Jubilee Shield which is retained by the Festival.
16 Age appropriate material
All material performed should be age appropriate and should not cause offence to the entrants or members of the audience.
17 Entry
(a) Speech entries must be made, and fees paid online, at no later than 17 March 2022.
(b) No competitor may enter more than once in any class .
18 Copyright
(a) Through our membership of the British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech, we are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society. This means that entrants do not have to seek copyright permission for any for any poetry, prose or solo dramatic items performed to a time limit of 10 minutes.
(b) Please note that solo dramatic items must be announced with the title and author at the time of performance to qualify for copyright indemnity, and the performer must not change the wording, or the gender of the character.
(c) Performers and teachers will be delighted to know that their participation in the Festival means that the author will be directly reimbursed as a consequence of their work being performed at the Festival.
19 Time Limits
Where time limits are stipulated these must be strictly adhered to.
20 Organisers’ rights
The organisers shall reserve the right:
(a) To refuse any entry.
(b) To decide upon any matter not provided for in the rules.
21 Complaints
Verbal complaints will not be considered. All complaints, which must show reasonable grounds for investigation, must be made by email to Such complaints must be sent within 24 hours of the session concerned.
22 Judges’ decision making
No competitor, teacher or member of the public is allowed access to the judges during the Festival or is allowed to challenge the judges’ comments at any time. The judges’ decisions are final.
23 Infringement of rules
Please remember that an infringement of any of the rules may result in the disqualification of a competitor.
24 Supervision of participants
(a) Please remember that even though this is an online festival, teachers, parents, guardians and carers are responsible for the continuous care and supervision of their own children or pupils.
(b) It is important that all teachers, parents, and carers take time to read our Children Protection policy and Safer Festival Statement. They can be found on pages 20 and 21 of this syllabus and on our website at


Child Protection Statement

The International Oratory Festival is a member of The British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech, and operates at all times in accordance with the following Child Protection Policy.
The British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech work with amateur festivals everywhere to help create thousands of educational performance opportunities for children and young people each year. The Federation and our member Festivals are committed to ensuring safe environments for children and young people and believe that it is always unacceptable for a child or young person to experience abuse of any kind. We recognise our responsibility to safeguard the welfare of all children and young people, by a commitment to recommend best practice which protects them. This policy applies to our Board of Trustees, paid staff, Adjudicator members, volunteers, students, or anyone working on behalf of the Federation and our member Festivals.

We recognise that:
• the welfare of the child/young person is paramount
• all children, regardless of age, disability, gender, racial heritage, religious belief, sexual orientation, or identity, have the right to equal protection from all types of abuse
• working in partnership with children, young people, their parents, carers, and other agencies is essential in promoting young people’s welfare

The purpose of the policy is:
• to provide protection for the children and young people who participate in our festivals, including the children of festival members
• to provide staff and volunteers with guidance on procedures they should adopt in the event that they suspect a child or young person may be experiencing, or be at risk of, harm

We will seek to safeguard children and young people by:
• valuing them, listening to, and respecting them
• adopting child protection guidelines through procedures and safe working practice for staff and volunteers
• recruiting staff and volunteers safely, ensuring all necessary checks are made
• sharing information about child protection and safe working practice with children, parents, staff and volunteers
• sharing information about concerns with agencies who need to know, and involving parents and children appropriately
• providing effective management for staff and volunteers through supervision, support and training

The Federation will review this policy each year in November in line with Safe Network Guidance or sooner in light of any changes in legislation or guidance. All changes will be communicated to our member Festivals in time for the start of the new Festival year.


Safer Festival Statement

The British & International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech and its member Festivals use the following policies and procedures to provide Safer Festivals for children and young people.
1 A single, definitive Child Protection Policy adopted by all Federation Festivals.
2 Best practice advice in the form of Safe Working Practice and Child Protection leaflets, support and training for all Federation Festival staff and volunteers reporting procedures for anyone with a concern about a child.
3 Appropriate recruitment and induction procedures followed for all new staff and volunteers responsible for providing safe environments for the children/young people attending/performing at our Festivals.
4 One or more designated Festival Safeguarding Officers (FSO) appointed for each Federation Festival.
5 For the duration of a Festival all teachers/parents/guardians/carers are responsible for the continuous care and supervision of their own children/pupils. If they are unable to attend personally, they must delegate their responsibilities to an identified adult and ensure that their children/pupils are aware of the identity and name of the person responsible for their care.
6 No unauthorised photography, screenshots, or video recording of children and young people is allowed at our festival.
7 The Festival’s Child Protection Policy and Safer Festivals Statement will be published explicitly in the Syllabus, Programme and on the festival website. Each teacher, parent, guardian and carer must read, understand and accept this information in order to give consent for their children/pupils to enter the festival by completing the relevant part of the online entry forms. Without consent the entry to the festival cannot be accepted.
The International Oratory Festival has completed the implementation of BIFF’s new approach to safeguarding. Their Child Protection Policy and Safeguarding Statement meet the recommendations of BIFF and are renewed annually.

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