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Students from King’s Lynn, Hunstanton, West Walton and Terrington St Clement battle it out to become spelling bee champion

Students across four West Norfolk secondary schools battled it out in the closing rounds of an annual spelling competition.

This year’s West Norfolk Academies Trust Spelling Bee Final took place at Springwood High School in Lynn.

Springwood students competed against Marshland High School in West Walton, St Clement’s High School in Terrington St Clement and Hunstanton’s Smithdon High School.

Toby Bunting was crowned spelling bee champion
Toby Bunting was crowned spelling bee champion

Having already made it through the in-house stages of the contest, eight Year 7 and 8 pupils – two from each competing school – faced one another in the final of the challenge, which was organised by English lead for the Trust, Sarah Murkin.

The event was hosted by Elly Kyasiima, English teacher at Springwood, with Stefan Leverton, who also teaches English at the school, reading out the words for the contestants to spell.

Mrs Murkin said: “Those students with the highest scores in spelling tests for the competition were selected to represent their schools in the final.”

It was the fourth time the competition had taken place, and both first and second places this year went to Year 7 students from St Clement’s, with Toby Bunting just pipping Evie Neill to the post.

Gemma Coker, the school’s librarian, said: “Toby was calm and confident throughout, and I have no doubt he could have gone on to spell more and trickier words.

“He’d even practised, and could spell perfectly, ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’.”

She added: “Evie successfully spelt words such as ‘fraction’, ‘protocol’, and ‘abstraction’, but finally lost in the final two to the word ‘infinite’.

“Evie said she knew exactly how to spell the word, but the nerves got to her.

“The highlight for Evie, I think, was when being awarded her prize – Mrs Murkin mentioned to the 250-plus crowd that it was Evie’s birthday and started off a very loud rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ to Evie. She was embarrassed.”

Each finalist received a super-sized chocolate bar, while Toby was awarded a Kindle Fire, along with an engraved trophy for St Clement’s.

Mrs Murkin added: “Competition in learning is essential as it encourages learners to strive for excellence.

“The competitive environment motivates learners to push themselves further, setting higher goals and standards for themselves. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity, improved performance, and better exam results.

“They will take these skills and, more importantly, these experiences through their lives.”

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