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Debating Teams qualify for finals in both Oxford and Cambridge Schools Debating Competitions

The Debating teams continued their very successful season in Manchester at the Oxford Schools Competition at the end of January with two teams, Mia Harrison & Kimran Singh-Sall and Beth Keasley & Courteney Plester, qualifying for the finals which will be held at Oxford University in March. This is the first time in the school’s history that we have had teams qualify for both the Oxford and Cambridge finals in the same year. What is even more impressive is that our students are only in Year 11 and are competing against Sixth Form students.

Sheffield Girls' had a fantastic day at the regional finals of the Cambridge Debating competition the previous Saturday at Manchester Grammar School. Three teams from Year 11 took part in the competition: Courteney Plester and Beth Kearsley; Mia Harrison and Masha Novikova and Safia Cecchini and Neha Ray.

The topic for the first debate was: "This house would abolish all labour laws in developing countries", the second was " This house regrets the rise of social media as a primary source of news distribution" and the third "This house supports Israel's policy of intentional ambiguity in neither confirming or denying that it possesses nuclear weapons". Teams have only 15 minutes to prepare arguments for and against the motions and then speak for five minutes each.

Mrs Dunsford, who accompanied the teams to the competition, reported: 'It was a really tough competition with teams from Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Harrogate and Sheffield. There were three rounds of debate with some of the most difficult motions I have ever come across in a school debating competition.'

Mia and Masha won their first two debates and after a tense final round, the overall results were announced. Neha, Safia, Beth and Courteney were placed in the top ten, and Mia and Masha were placed second overall, which means they have now qualified for the national finals which will be held at Cambridge University in February.

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