Martin Whitfield MSP is backing VoiceBox, a Scotland-wide joke telling competition designed by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) to raise awareness of the fun and importance of communication.

One in four children in Scotland have a predicted speech, language or communication need. Undetected or unmet speech, language and communication problems can lead to challenges with their learning, wellbeing and future life chances.

All primary schools across Scotland are invited to bring laughter into their classrooms this term by taking part in the competition. Pupils with the funniest jokes can be nominated by their school and will be in with a chance of being selected as one of the 32 local authority finalists invited to attend the National Final in the Scottish Parliament on 6 June.

All finalists will receive £100 worth of HarperCollins books, and the pupils with the three best jokes will receive a toy gift card worth up to £100 and up to £500 worth of Collins Big Cat books for their school.

Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“As a teaching professional I know the potential value of fun and humour in learning and supporting children with speech and communication challenges.

“VoiceBox is a fantastic opportunity for primary school children to share their jokes and learn about the importance of communication and speech at the same time and I hope local schools will take part.”

Head of RCSLT Scotland, Glenn Carter, said:

“The aim of the VoiceBox competition is to remind people that all children need support to build their communication skills and confidence. In every classroom, there are children who need extra help with speaking and understanding. With appropriate support around the child, including from a speech and language therapist, we can see significant improvements in their learning, interaction skills, confidence and wellbeing.

“Communication impacts on how we interact with other people, how we understand them and, in turn, how we are understood. Every child has a basic right to communicate and they should be supported to do so.”

Schools interested in getting involved can find everything they need to take part on the VoiceBox website at The deadline for entering jokes is 1 April 2024.