The buzz around the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee is growing

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

Maddi O’Mara is proud to call herself “a spelling nerd” and is looking forward to today’s launch of the Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee 2023.

For her mum Anna, whether her year five daughter ends up a winner or not, seeing her so enthusiastic about spelling is a positive – and that’s exactly the way Prime Minister Albanese wants it.

“Seeing young Australians so eager to learn makes me proud,” he said. “It’s exciting to see spelling and learning presented in such a positive and supportive way – like it is in the Spelling Bee.”

Registrations for the school round for the third annual online competition open today, 24 July, with the Prime Minister himself hoping that this year’s Bee will attract more than last year’s 61,000 participants.

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“There’s nothing quite like a friendly competition to help you set goals for yourself and make learning even more enjoyable,” he said.

The Prime Minister’s Spelling Bee is a free, online competition for Australian students in years three – eight. For the students who take part, there are three levels of competition:

  • Green – years three – four
  • Orange – years five – six
  • Red – years seven – eight

Each student is given 30 randomly selected words from their competition level. They then have just 25 seconds to type each answer. The students with the most correct words in the fastest time progress to the finals.

The school round finishes on Friday, 18 August. State and territory finals run from 28 August – 1 September, with the national finals held across 6 – 7 September.

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In each age group, the national champion wins a trip to Canberra to meet the Prime Minister, as well as walking away with their own iPad and a HarperCollins book pack. They also each win a $1000 voucher for their school.

What do teachers and parents need to know?

Certain criteria outlined on the Spelling Bee website must be met, with all entrants required to attend a school that is officially enrolled to participate in the competition, or be home-schooled (provided the home school is registered in Australia and registered to participate in the competition)

Registration is free and participants must be under the age of 15 at the start of the 2023 school year (1 February).

As debate about the influence of AI and ChatGPT continues to rage in classrooms and universities across Australia, words, said the Prime Minister, “are key to opening up opportunity” – powerful tools that he believes should not go out of style in our evolving digital world.

“Improving your confidence with words and vocabulary means being able to better express yourself – inside and outside of the classroom.”

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]