North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2020 North Independent Secondary School of the Year 2021

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Debating duo Zoom to success

Monday 22 February 2021

Debating duo, Ben and Jamie, have been taking the schools’ competition world by storm since the start of the year, competing in two national events, which this year have been held via Zoom.

The boys, along with another GSAL team of Mei and Oliver, qualified for the finals of the prestigious Oxford Union’s Schools’ Debating Competition which will be held next month on 13 March. The competition, usually hosted at Oxford University will be held online this year, as have the qualifying rounds. Ben says,

“Whilst we were hoping to compete in Oxford in person, unfortunately that isn’t possible this year. However, we are so grateful to have been able to continue competing in something we love, whilst so many have missed out on such opportunities this year.”

As the dust settled on their Oxford qualifying round success, Ben and Jamie then went on to compete in another acclaimed debating competition, Manchester University Schools’ Debating Competition, the UK’s largest one day schools’ debating competition.

45 teams took part from all over the country, and each team had to successfully debate four motions to qualify for the final. The motions are only learned 15 minutes before each debate so there is little time to prepare. Ben and Jamie put on phenomenal performances throughout, making it through to the final motion which was to debate whether Banksy should reveal his/her identity to the public. Speaking in the position of Closing Opposition, the boys skilfully debated against their fellow finalists, City of London School for Girls, Broxburn Academy and RGS Worcester, to lift the coveted title.

Now in Year 13, Ben and Jamie have been debating together since Year 10 and have already achieved considerable debating success, including being the joint youngest team to take part in the Oxford Union grand final in 2019.

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