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Driven debaters move forward to finals

Toni and Beth, members of the Senior School debating club, have had great success this November and will be heading to the finals of the Cambridge Union Schools Debating Competition 2018-19.

The annual competition hosts over 1000 competitors from all over England, striving to win the honour of being titled Schools’ Champion. The regional rounds, as with most official formal debates, follow the standard British Parliamentary format, so teams can put their skills to the test in a professional setting.

Sixth form pupils Toni and Beth (pictured at the Debating finals at the Oxford University Union as part of their debating team) spoke their minds about controversial motions such as prostitution, dictatorships, gang crime and blind voting to beat out top competition in the Northern England Regional round, and came in the top three of a staggering 33 teams. Beth said, “The competition had mixed ability but had some very good teams. We got great feedback from expert debaters and won two out of four of our debates.”

They will both be honing their skills in public speaking, analytical thinking and putting forward persuasive arguments to go head to head with other finalists in the second part of the competition at the University of Cambridge in February. The final will be held in the historic Cambridge Union building, which is the site of rich debates from icons such as the Dalai Lama, US President Ronald Reagan, and Margaret Thatcher.

The competition is ramping up and schools have been narrowed to only the most talented debaters, as only one of 16 teams that entered qualified, but our girls are taking it in their stride. Beth continued, “We’re looking forward to the challenge of competing at Cambridge.”

The win for Toni and Beth is inspiring other members of the Wednesday after school debating club as well as other girls interested in debating, as they were notably the only girls to qualify from their round.

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