Published: May 3, 2010
School's super spellers shine in national competition

Three Burnham-On-Sea students have completed a gruelling spelling challenge in front of a big crowd at the regional heats of The Times 2010 Spelling Bee Competition.

The Year 7 pupils from King Alfred School, pictured here, finished in an impressive third position overall during the highly competitive event in Bristol.

Around 1,000 schools across the UK have entered this year, and Burnham's Sam Constance, Ben Ayers and Rory Edwards had to battle it out against teams from seven other schools to try and reach the Regional Semi-Finals.

The pressure was on in the first round, where the aim was to be the last speller standing.

As one by one, spellers from across the south west were eliminated, Sam showed his coolness under pressure and managed to survive into the top 5. This performance helped to give the team a half way placing of fifth with 16 points.

The free half-time popcorn seemed to inspire the boys on, because in the second round of 'quick fire spelling' they showed brilliant team work.

They made the decision to go for single point words and it proved an excellent tactic as they rattled through the words and earned 28 points by spelling 28 words correctly in two minutes.

It was then a case of waiting and seeing how other schools performed. In the end, though, no one bettered their second half haul and the overall total of 44 points took them into the top three.

"It wasn't quite enough to send them through to the next round, but it was an outstanding performance - well done boys," the school's Paul Lockett told

"Among the words they had to spell out during the competition were nepotism, incredulous, expostulates, pianissimo and, the most memorable of the afternoon, bivouac!"

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