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Academies come together for an Un-bee-lievable Spelling Bee

On Friday 10th February 2023, the primary and secondary academies came together to take part in the first-ever Co-op Academies Spelling Bee.

On Friday 10th February 2023, the primary and secondary academies came together to take part in the first-ever Co-op Academies Spelling Bee. The event was held at 1 Angel Square, Co-op’s headquarters in Manchester, with many of the competitors expressing their admiration of the venue as they arrived. 

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The auditorium was abuzz (no apologies for the pun) with anticipation as the rules of the format were explained. The first part of the Spelling Bee was structured into heats–each academy competed in two rounds ‘against’ three other academies. The rounds were made up of two secondaries and two primaries. One of the most striking aspects of the day was how the high quality of the spellers meant it was very difficult to distinguish between those in Year 5 and those in Year 8!

The rounds involved pupils spelling a mixture of moderate and high-challenge words that were pre-released before the event. In the second round, the pupils were faced with the choice of the ‘wacky’ words: obscure dinosaurs or obscure place names. Even our best spellers had to dig deep to spell ‘archaeopteryx’ and ‘Scarborough’!  

During these morning rounds, students at the tables were taking in the action on the stage while practising their own spellings and taking on the Co-op Anagrams round where they had to work together to decipher which Spelling Bee associated words were jumbled up.

As the pupils had their lunch, the scores from the first round were added up leaving us with two academies in the finals. There was quite the competition for 3rd place with Walkden just doing enough to pip Princeville, Bebington, Swinton, and Stoke onto the podium. 

However, there were two clear frontrunners to contest the final: Clarice Cliff and Manchester. And what a final it was! Using the classic penalty shoot-out format, each team had five spellings to get correct. None of the vocabulary included in the final featured in the pre-released material. In the first five spellings, it was tied at 3-3. An enrapt auditorium could barely take the tension as it went to sudden death. Manchester was just able to beat the incredible efforts of the primary pupils at Clarice Cliff, eventually winning 4-3. 

Both teams richly deserved their respective trophies as ‘Best Secondary Academy’ and ‘Best Primary Academy’ and all the participants deserve recognition for contributing towards a fantastic day that fully met its objectives: to celebrate a love of language; instill a friendly sense of competition putting words at the forefront; and give an opportunity to bring our wonderful pupils together to share a memorable experience. Thanks to all who took part and contributed to organising an incredible event. We cannot wait for the competition next year!