South Australia

Plain English Speaking Award

About the Competition

PESA is a public-speaking competition open to students aged 15-18 years throughout Australia. It provides an excellent opportunity for students to build self-confidence and extend their skills in oral communication, speech writing and research. It aims to encourage and maintain the best use of clear and effective spoken English.

The competition encourages students from government, Catholic and independent schools to speak to their peers from other schools on topics they are passionate about.

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. The national winner competes at the International Public Speaking Competition in London, organised by the English Speaking Union.

In South Australia the competition is organised by members of the Penguin Club of Australia.

Award Prizes


1st Prize


Donated by The Royal Commonwealth Society (South Australian Branch) Inc.

Additionally, the South Australian representative at the National Final receives airfares provided by the South Australian Plain English Speaking Award, and accommodation in Brisbane provided by Australian-Britain Society.

2nd Prize


Donated by The English-Speaking Union (South Australian Branch)

3rd Prize


“Peter Davies Award” donated by Dymocks Adelaide in recognition of the contribution of Peter Davies to the Plain English Speaking Award

Each finalist receives a trophy and certificate donated by the Plain English Speaking Award South Australia, The Penguin Club of Australia (South Australia) Incorporated and Adelaide Dickens Fellowship Inc. The Royal Commonwealth Society Perpetual School Trophy, donated by the Royal Commonwealth Society (South Australian Branch) Inc will be presented to the winner’s school.

Award Sponsors

2022 Competition Dates

Close of entries –  7th May 2022


Wednesday 18th May, Legacy House 102 Franklin Street Adelaide, 4.30pm
Thursday 19th May, Legacy House, 102 Franklin Street, Adelaide, 4.30pm
Friday 20th May, Legacy House, 102 Franklin Street, Adelaide, 5.30pm
Saturday 21st May,  Legacy House, 102 Franklin Street, Adelaide, 10.00am

Semi Finals

Saturday 18th June or Sunday 19th June


Friday 5th August 

PESA Registrations 2022 Live!

Enter here (do jotform there) for PESA South Australian heats. Entries will remain open until  7th May, so get in now before heats fill up!

Tips for Entrants

 Looking for some advice on writing your speech, preparing for the heats? Want to know what the adjudicators are searching for? Click the button below to see a collection of advice on getting the most out of your time on the stage!