News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Bristol's Got Talent

The fact that not one but two of the finalists of the BBC show The Speaker attend the same Bristol secondary school is a credit to the school and the city.

Series winner Duncan Harrison and runner-up Irene Carter both attend St Mary Redcliffe School, the Church of England secondary currently undergoing a major rebuild on its small city centre campus.

The prestigious national competition, which ran over eight episodes and saw thousands of initial applicants whittled down to a final three, was judged by entertainer Jo Brand, speaker and broadcaster John Amaechi and actor/director Jeremy Stockwell. The series of challenges competitors went through were designed to test their verbal communication and improvisation skills across a range of disciplines.

Sucess in the competition has resulted in a series of interviews and media opportunities for 15-year old Duncan, including, it is rumoured, the offer of his own radio show on Star FM. Duncan's brother Angus, a student at the North Bristol Post-16 Centre, is a part-time actor and appears in a major role alongside Mel Smith in the British film Halo Boy.

Runner-up Irene Carter, meanwhile, was mentored over part of the series by news broadcaster Kate Silverton who, Trym Tales understands, took quite a shine to the 17-year old and has urged the Bristol sixth former to stay in touch in order to develop her career as a news reporter.

BS9 is already the sector the the city which sends the largest number of students to St Mary Redcliffe School and there is every possibility that The Speaker will have increased interest in what the specialist humanities school has to offer.

As a voluntary-aided Church of England School, Redcliffe, is permitted to set its own faith-based admissions criteria which gives priority to familes who are regular and long-term committed members of a Christian church. The policy also provides for a specific number of places to be allocated to children of other faiths and to children in the immediate parish of St Mary Redcliffe. In a typical year, the school receives three times as many applications as it has places.

The Redcliffe Sixth Form centre has no faith-based admission requirement.

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