About the competition
PESA is a public-speaking competition for students aged 15-18 years. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to build self-confidence and extend their skills in oral communication, speech writing and research.
The competition encourages students from government, Catholic and independent schools to speak to their peers from other schools on topics they are passionate about.
In Australia each year states and territories organise and conduct competitions at school, regional and state levels. State winners then go to the national final, which is held in the various states and territories on a rotational basis.
In Victoria, PESA is organised and conducted by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
PESA 2021 registrations live!
Registrations for the 2021 Plain English Speaking Award are now live.
They will remain open until Friday 7 May 2021.
Register now before heats fill up.
PESA 2021 dates
All state heats will begin at 9.30am.
This table displays PESA 2021 dates
| Date || Venue|| Suburb|
|Monday 17 May ||Mentone Girls' Grammar School||Mentone|
|Melbourne High School||South Yarra|
|Northcote High School||Northcote|
|Tuesday 18 May ||Overnewton Anglican Community College||Keilor|
|Girton Grammar School||Bendigo**|
|Wednesday 19 May ||Gippsland Grammar||Sale**|
|Notre Dame College||Shepparton|
|Sacred Heart College Geelong||Newtown|
|Thursday 20 May ||Brauer College||Warrnambool** |
|Marian College Myrtleford||Myrtleford**|
|Friday 21 May||Caroline Chisholm Catholic College||Braybrook**|
|Monday 24 May||St Bede's College||Mentone |
|Tuesday 25 May ||Suzanne Cory High School||Werribee|
|St Monica's College||Epping|
|Nossal High School||Berwick|
|Wednesday 26 May ||Ballarat Grammar||Ballarat** |
|Thursday 27 May||Glen Waverley Secondary College||Glen Waverley|
|Friday 28 May ||Shelford Girls' Grammar||Caulfield South|
|Geelong Grammar School||Corio**|
|Hume Central Secondary College||Broadmeadows|
**non metropolitan venues
The prepared speeches
The Victorian state finalists spoke on a range of topics including commercialisation of sport, emotions in politics, negative impacts of social media, sign-lanuage and racism.
For more information about the speeches see the
State Final speeches page.
What is plain English?
Learn more about the competition and what it means to speak in plain English.
What is PESA transcript (docx - 27.49kb)
History of PESA - 40th Anniversary
This short documentary celebrates 40 years of the national competition. The 40th anniversary national final was held in Melbourne in 2017.
History of PESA - 40th Anniversary transcript (docx - 31.3kb)
National final – Plain English Speaking Award – 14 August 2017
The 2017 national final of the Plain English Speaking Award, hosted by the VCAA, took place on Monday 14 August at the National Gallery of Victoria. Seven Finalists gathered from around Australia to share the winning speeches from their state and territory finals. The competition was extremely close and saw Emily Kim from North Sydney Girls' High School in New South Wales take out top honours, with Aditi Tamhankar from St Peter's Girls' School, South Australia as the runner-up.
Emily Kim, whose winning speech 'The P word' unpacked the stigma around menstruation, will go on to represent Australia at the English Speaking Union's 2018 International Public Speaking Competition (IPSC) in London. The IPSC is one of the world's largest public speaking competitions, attracting more than 50,000 students from up to 50 countries across the globe.
Victoria was represented by state champion Fergus Dale, Caulfield Grammar School, whose speech 'The disregarded identity of regional Australia' challenged the long-held stereotypes of rural Australia by highlighting the innovation that occurs within regional multicultural societies.
Past Participants of PESA
2017 ESU International Public Speaking Award winner, Luke Macaronas