Students from The Bishops’ Blue Coat High School had an exciting and challenging day at Manchester Grammar School participating against 26 schools in a regional debating competition ‘Up For Debate’ organised by PiXL, the largest partnership network of schools in England and Wales.
Year 8 students Eleanor Colston, Ruby Miller and Lucy Bradburn were Bishops’ first team.
Year 9 students Alexi Reade, Noah St Hill and Nathaniel Tanianis-Hughes, who originally attended as members of the audience, were asked last minute to bravely step up as an unprepared second team as another school had dropped out.
Fellow Year 10 student, Conor Walsh, who also joined the teams as a student judge, had the exciting opportunity to spend the day with professional judges during the debates.
Prior to the competition students had diligently prepared for two motions: ‘This house would ban international adoption’ and ‘This house would censor discriminative lyrics and music videos.’
This was a challenge for all involved, as students had to face the challenge of debating either as the proposition or opposition, thus not necessarily reflecting their own personal views.
Bishops’ Year 8 first team won the first two motions of the competition.
Students’ nerves stepped up a notch when they faced the impromptu debate, where they had only 20 minutes to prepare for their final round.
They were asked to debate the motion: ‘This house would ban beauty pageants.’
With much determination, they won their third round and were invited to compete in the final.
The final debate was held in the grand main hall of Manchester Grammar School.
Students had a further 20 minutes to prepare their last motion of the competition: ‘This house would reduce MP’s salaries.’
After a passionate and enthusiastic delivery from both sides, the decision was in the hands of the judges.
Anxiously waiting for the result, it came down to one crucial point between the winners and runners up.
After an amazing performance, Bishops’ first team were awarded second place in what the organisers described as a very close final.
Their ranking means that they move on to the national final in London.
The entire day was a great success for all involved and in particular for Lucy Bradburn who won the outstanding speaker award for her contributions during each of the debates.
Lucy said: “I really enjoyed taking part in the debates competition. Everyone was really friendly and we had a great time representing the school. All of the topics were interesting but difficult to grasp, meaning that each debate was heated and passionate. We all learnt a lot during the preparation and on the day of the event. We got so much out of the experience.”
Teacher Jenny Sadler who initiated, trains and develops the team said: “I am so proud of our students! They have put in impressive performances especially given that it was their first ever entry to this competition. We are now excited to move to the national final.”