I didn’t realise that we have our own version of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Apparently, The Times newspaper has been running the Times Spelling Bee competition, now in its third year.
Having already come through the locals and the semi-finals, the eleven finalist teams fought out the Grand Final in the O2 Arena. The winning team came from Colchester Royal Grammar school in Essex, with Joe Tagliaferro (great Italian name that!) managing to spell ‘chrysalis’ correctly.
You can watch the boys, along with the ‘spellmaster’ Andrea Glazier, being interviewed on BBC Breakfast.
How did they get to be so good? They practise, practise, practise. In fact, they're almost as good as some Year 2 pupils I saw at St Thomas Aquinas school - but then they were Sounds-Write trained!
The boys also tested Susanna Reid, one of the presenters of the programme, with ‘psychedelic’, which I’m pleased to report she handled with aplomb. I think most reasonably educated people would get the ‘psych’ bit right, though some might have a bit of trouble with our old friend the schwa, which sounds like an ‘uh’ in ‘psychedelic’.