8th February - 9th March 2022

Sheriffs' Challenge 2022

The 2022 Sheriffs’ Challenge is beginning to gather momentum again with Liveries notifying their intention to participate by supporting a school or schools.

Each competing team is sponsored[1] by a Livery Company, which also nominates a ‘Livery Lead’ to coach the team. For the first time this year the Sheriffs and FSG are gradually opening the event to other Livery Companies.  Please find below further notes to help ‘Livery Leads’ to begin to prepare for the event.  (All documentation can be shared with the staff and students of the schools.)


As before the event is in two parts:


1. Heats: Tuesday 8th and Wednesday 9th and 10th February 2022 5.30pm (Venue to be notified: in London on rail/tube network.) Judged by Masters/Past Master of Liveries.


2. Final: Wednesday 9th March 2022 5.30pm at the Old Bailey, judged by Old Bailey Judges and the Sheriffs. (NB This is a day later than on the original communication.)



Participating schools are asked to convene a team[2] of no more than six Year 12 students who will be asked to prepare and deliver an oral argument on the specified subject.


In the first part of the competition, schools will compete by delivering an oral presentation of no more than eight minutes on the specified topic to the judging panel of Masters/Past Masters, and to an audience comprising the sponsoring livery company members, teaching staff, parents and other competitors.  There will be a warning card after 7 minutes and a STOP card when the full 8 minutes are up.  The judging panel will assess each team on three criteria:


  1. Organisation of the team and structure of the material, (including the single page Project Plan submitted to the Judges a week before the event[3]
  2. Content and knowledge of the subject.
  3. Presentation skills to engage and inspire the audience. (NB no digital/electronic presentation aids will be allowed).


Livery Leads will be sent the detailed assessment criteria to share with their teams.

Lots will be drawn during the week before the Heats for the running order of teams.

Feedback will be given to all the teams by the judges (Strengths and Areas for Development).


The second part of the competition will comprise the highest scoring team from each Heat.  They will go forward to the Final at the Old Bailey for which they will finesse their presentations and also prepare for an additional assessment point:

  1.  Answering questions from the Judges and Sheriffs on the topic.

The finalists will be assessed on their skills in managing this higher order performance dimension, in addition to the criteria applied in the heats.


The Principle of the Sheriffs’ Challenge is to give teams of year 12 students (Lower VI) in London schools, who might otherwise not have such an opportunity, an occasion to:

  • develop and practise their public speaking skills in a formal setting;
  • develop their confidence and enable them to rise to an occasion that would be normally well outside of their comfort zone;
  • prepare and present material as a team;
  • gain an insight into the world of work in the City of London;
  • consider that a career in the City environment is achievable for them;
  • consider the event to be a significant, value-added experience;
  • provide the opportunity for the participating Livery Companies to establish/extend links with the participating schools and for them to add value to the experience of the pupils.


Livery Lead Coaches

The presentation is led by the school and the content should be driven by the students, but the Livery Company sponsoring each school is asked to provide one Livery Lead Coach per team to guide students through the task. There may be concepts the students wish to explore with which they are unfamiliar, therefore, the role of Coach is to act as an adviser, using knowledge and skills from a City perspective to support the students.  Livery Lead support in crafting their team’s presentations is an invaluable gift given by the Livery Companies to these students; it often has a transformational impact on students’ thinking, so it is important to give as many London school teams as possible an opportunity to participate.  Each Livery may already have links with specific London schools, or may now be interested to set these up.

The coach will be there for the team, to answer questions, encourage, guide, give feedback, and ask considered questions that will help the participants envisage the event and plan how to achieve their best performance.  There is no one correct approach as it will depend very much on the skills of the participants and the way they have chosen to approach the topic.

Coaching sessions with the school team will need to be co-ordinated with the school Mentor; Livery Lead Coaches and Mentors will help to structure an approach for the students to prepare, develop and perfect their presentation.  Below is a suggested timeline.



A member of the school staff will support each team in preparing their presentation and be the contact member of school staff for the Livery Lead Coach.  The students with their Mentor will decide how to approach the topic and how to deploy the team.  There is no set right answer to these decisions and there are likely to be various, different approaches.  Students can decide whether to present as a whole group of six or just key individuals.






Gather a team and send to notice of participation.


Define the task and assign initial roles to students (e.g. team leader/co-ordinator).

Set out a timeline.

Brainstorm ideas.

Delegate tasks/ideas for initial research.

Draft a first, rough version of the single page Project Plan.


Present researched ideas.

Decide on main points to be included.

Delegate in-depth research on main points.


Present in-depth researched materials and arguments.

Design and write the presentation.

Allocate agreed speaking roles.

Delegate finessing of final materials.

Move to finalising the single page Project Plan.

Early February

Rehearse presentation for Heats (8th and 9th February)

Be given feedback on presentation and make adjustments accordingly.

Submit the finalised A4 Plan to Anne Punter for the Heat judges by 1st February.






Dr Anne Punter


Lower Warden and Court Assistant,

The Worshipful Company of Educators






[1] The Livery Company will pay £120 per school to the Educators for refreshment costs, certificates and engraving.

[2] A team can be any size in the preparation of the presentation, however those actually presenting will be limited to six in their Heat and the Final, although the presenting team can be fewer than 6 and often has been in the past.

[3] Project Plan: include name of school; names of all the team members showing who did what in preparation for the presentation; research undertaken; the main focus of the material; the structure of the presentation; who will deliver each part. Maximum length a single A4 side of min. size 11 point.

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