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Debating Club Zooms ahead in national competition

Debating Club Zooms ahead in national competition

Undeterred by lockdown restrictions, members of our Debating Club are continuing to develop their public speaking skills, and are celebrating success in the prestigious ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition, held this week via Zoom.

Two St Mary's teams entered this national contest, the largest public speaking competition for schools in England and Wales. The competition offers a unique opportunity for students in Years 9 to 11 to develop their oracy skills, critical thinking and confidence in a friendly, supportive contest.

Students explore topical issues facing today’s world, working in teams of three to take roles of ’speaker’, ‘questioner’ and ‘chairperson’. The competition format pairs a speaker from one school, with the chair and questioner from another. This requires rapid relationship-building and agile team working skills - not to mention the ability to think on the spot!

Isabelle M-S (Year 11) was selected as the ‘best questioner’ of the evening and St Mary’s School Team 1 (Amelie A., Isabelle M-S and Imogen H-H) secured the runner-up position overall, enabling them to progress to the next heat of the competition in March.

St Mary’s School Team 2 (Freya L, Freya B and Felicity) also celebrated a strong performance, and both teams were cheered on and supported by other girls from the Debating Club.

Joanna Cottingham, Head of English comments: “The girls have been extremely committed, collaborative, enthusiastic and hardworking - we are so pleased they have been rewarded by getting through to the next round. Everyone in our Debating Club has worked hard to improve over the last year, and gained hugely in confidence and skill.”

Debating Club is just one of the extra-curricular opportunities available in Senior School and since its formation, it has proved to be extremely popular with students.

More about Debating in Senior School