Brookes to host regional finals of national schools debating competition

Wednesday, 09 March 2016

Debating Matters logo

Sixth-form students from six schools in the South of England will fight it out in the UK’s toughest debating competition, the Institute of Ideas’ Debating Matters Competition this Friday 11 March

Oxford Brookes University is hosting the South regional final which will see 16-18 year olds taking part in a series of debates on topics such as gentrification, genome editing and gender quotas in the workplace. The winning school will secure a place at the Debating Matters national final held in London in July.

The competition involves nearly 300 schools and 2,000 students from around the UK. It provides valuable experience for the students, equipping them to tackle some of the big issues affecting society today.

John Hampden Grammar School, Downe House School, Royal Wootton Bassett Academy, The Holt School, Magdalen College School, and The Godolphin School reached the regional final after winning qualifying rounds held last autumn.

We are very excited to be hosting the regional finals of the Debating Matters Competition at Oxford Brookes, and to have two of our academics as judges. It is a great opportunity for us to engage with bright, young students from a wide range of schools.

Dr Anne Gwinnett, Director of Corporate Affairs, Oxford Brookes University

They will face a judging panel of adults from a wide range of professional backgrounds, including local business leaders, scientists, authors and academics who will question them on their arguments and challenge them to defend their research and thinking. Two of the judges are from Oxford Brookes, Professor William Gibson from the Department of History, Philosophy and Religion and Lecturer David Aldridge from the School of Education.

Dr Anne Gwinnett, Director of Corporate Affairs at Oxford Brookes University said: “We are very excited to be hosting the regional finals of the Debating Matters Competition at Oxford Brookes, and to have two of our academics as judges. It is a great opportunity for us to engage with bright, young students from a wide range of schools.

“This competition is a fantastic way to engage young people in key societal issues and intellectual debate. Here at the University we are passionate about providing students with inspirational teaching and learning opportunities; encouraging them to expand the way they think, challenge themselves and consider the wider world around them.

“I hope that the students and educational professionals visiting us on Friday enjoy the opportunity to look around our award-winning John Henry Brookes Building, and we wish all the schools taking part the very best of luck.”

Justine Brian, Director of the Debating Matters Competition, said: “The competition prides itself on taking young people seriously, valuing ideas and allowing free debate. Some of the brightest and best students will be taken out of their comfort zone by tackling these topics. The quality of debaters is exceptionally high so I can’t wait to see how they handle the tough, real life issues we have in store for them.

“We emphasise substance, not just style of debating, and the students have done incredibly well to get this far.”

The competition is supported by UCAS, the universities and colleges admissions service. Chief executive of UCAS, Mary Curnock Cook, said: “This competition is great preparation for further academic study and for their professional lives.”

Hodder Education, Oxford University Press, the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Ashmolean Museum, Modern Art Oxford, The Glee Club Oxford, and Oxford Playhouse have kindly donated prizes to the winning students.

The Debating Matters Competition is supported by the Wellcome Trust. For further information about the competition visit www.debatingmatters.com.