The Education Committee aims to engage all ages, but particularly young people, in understanding York’s history, heritage and architecture. In order to realise how York’s past shapes its future, we aim to organise a range of stimulating activities to inspire an appreciation of their city in the next generation.

Nurturing the orators of tomorrow

Twice yearly, the Education Committee organises Public Speaking Competitions, one for Primary Schools and one for Secondary Schools. These prestigious events not only offer budding orators a platform to articulate their ideas about their remarkable city and those who have shaped it but also to cultivate their confidence in public speaking in front of a large audience. The competition is demanding but undoubtedly enriches the lives of the young competitors. We are always extremely grateful to the teachers who give up their time to coach the orators of tomorrow.

Click on the links below to see some of York’s talented students!

Primary School Public Speaking Competition 2022 Winners – Lord Deramore’s School.

Highlights of Primary School Public Speaking Competion – 2019

Highlights of Secondary School Public Speaking Competition – 2018

Highlights of Primary School Public Speaking Competition – 2014

The next competition will be held on 22nd November 2023 in the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall at 6.30pm, in the company of the Lord Mayor. It is free to attend.

Come along and enjoy a evening of lively debate in beautiful and historic surroundings.

Students will be debating one of the following subjects:

  • Apart from the Minster, the two most important buildings in York are…..
  • York is a city of the past, not the present or the future.
  • Which two or three citizens, past or present, have had the most influence on the city?
  • Throughout York’s history, immigrants have enriched the life of the city.
  • Once there was chocolate and railways, now York has no industry.
The winners of the Primary School Public Speaking Competition at BBC Radio York.
Click here to hear the interview.

Free Resources for Schools

In collaboration with York Explore, we have produced a series of exciting, stimulating and colourful booklets aimed at Key Stage 2 children, but of general interest to everyone. Each booklet examines an historic world event but from a York perspective.

What was it like to spend your life in a Victorian workhouse in York or to live in the slums of Walmgate?

How would it feel to be the first woman to drive a tram from Nessgate to Hull Road in World War One? Suppose you had been an 11 year old boy living with your family in a flat above the Guildhall, when, in the middle of the night, you hear sirens going off and you see the whole river front on fire. Imagine you are a Mum of four living a comfortable life in Heworth and then you find yourself arrested and sent to Holloway Prison because you have become a Suffragette! The booklets are packed with illustrations, exciting learning activities and real life stories of children and adults in York who lived through momentous events in history. They are free, downloadable and can be customised for the individual classroom. They really are worth a look.

World War 2 Teacher Pack

World War 2 Student Pack

World War 1 Teacher Pack

World War 1 Student Pack

Victorian Workhouse Teacher Pack

Victorian Workhouse Student Pack

Votes for Women Teacher Pack

Votes for Women Student Pack

Art Competition

In 2017, York Civic Trust and York Art Gallery jointly organised a competition for York primary schools, based on John Piper’s 1951 painting View from Clifford’s Tower. Schools were asked to provide An Alternative View of York. The entries were wonderfully imaginitave and used a wide range of mediums Smarties! The five winning schools: Companthorpe, Rufforth, Danesgate, Osbaldwick and Knavesmire were awarded with two days of workshops with an artist. 

Their resulting images were photographed and displayed on the panels on the facade of York Art Gallery, and the original work from all 15 participating schools was on display in the Art Gallery’s project room in summer 2017. 

Fairfax House

Fairfax House on Castlegate is the finest Georgian house in England, beautifully dressed to re-create how it would have looked when Anne Fairfax lived there 250 years ago. It is wonderful space to learn more about living in the 18th century. 16 and under have free entry.= – find out more here.