Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Sign In Skip to Content

What is PESA?

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 SchoolMentone
Melbourne High SchoolSouth Yarra
Northcote High SchoolNorthcote
Tuesday 18 May Overnewton Anglican Community CollegeKeilor
Girton Grammar SchoolBendigo**
Wednesday 19 May Gippsland GrammarSale**
Notre Dame CollegeShepparton
Sacred Heart College GeelongNewtown
Thursday 20 May Brauer CollegeWarrnambool**
Marian College MyrtlefordMyrtleford**
Friday 21 MayCaroline Chisholm Catholic CollegeBraybrook**
Monday 24 MaySt Bede's CollegeMentone
Tuesday 25 May Suzanne Cory High SchoolWerribee
St Monica's CollegeEpping
Nossal High SchoolBerwick
Wednesday 26 May Ballarat GrammarBallarat**
Aquinas CollegeRingwood
Thursday 27 MayGlen Waverley Secondary CollegeGlen Waverley
Friday 28 May Shelford Girls' GrammarCaulfield South
Geelong Grammar SchoolCorio**
Hume Central Secondary CollegeBroadmeadows

**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