Two sixth form students from The Queen’s School in Chester took on one of the country’s education experts in a hard-fought debate about the future of learning in the UK.
Alice Gooda, 17, from Tarvin, and Charlotte Allwood, 17, from Chester, took up the challenge to argue against the idea that the British education system is letting youngsters down.
Alice, who joined Queen’s this academic year to start sixth form study, said: “We’re really enjoying our experiences as we get ready for A-levels so we were more than happy to state the positive case for our education system.
“We made the point that our universities are envied all round the world and that teaching has been getting loads better over recent years.”
“It’s definitely no longer just ‘chalk and talk’ as students these days are getting involved with research, using ICT, doing their own presentations and generally being encouraged to be a lot more creative with their learning.”
Their opponent in the meeting at Chester Debating Society was Jean Evans, a former principal examiner for exam board AQA and now an educational consultant.
“I think that the British system is a lot more successful than people often give credit for,” added Charlotte, who is currently studying for AS-levels alongside Alice.
“People are always saying that exams these days are much easier than they used to be. The fact is that more people today can run a mile in under four minutes than was the case back in the 1950s – but that doesn’t mean the mile has got any shorter!
“Students are being prepared better and given more skills which help them achieve more when they get into the exam room.”
The result of the debate reflected the strong opinions on both sides, with voting split exactly down the middle.
“The debate was much more wide-ranging than we expected,” said Phil Pearn from Chester Debating Society.
“Charlotte and Alice’s input showed great maturity and it was a great chance for them to encounter a wide range of ‘real world’ views.”