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Milton Abbey Prep Schools’ Debating Competition

On Wednesday 1st February, we welcomed ten teams from a wide range of local schools who were taking part in the Milton Abbey Prep Schools’ Debating Competition, now in its third year. 

A total of 30 young students took part in an afternoon which included a workshop on debating and public speaking skills.  This was a great opportunity for the children to find out more about how debates are run – their structure and the terms commonly used in debating – and to consider the skills needed when presenting arguments in support and against a given motion.    

The teams were then each assigned a motion so they could prepare their arguments in advance of the competition.  The motions included, ‘This house believes that teachers in classrooms should be replaced by skype lecturers’ and ‘This house believes that contact sports should be compulsory’.

                                                           The winning team from Sunninghill Prep School

After thirty minutes of intense preparation the teams took part in a competition in front of an audience in the New Barn Theatre and judged by Magnus Bashaarat, Milton Abbey’s Headmaster.  All teams performed extremely well and the winning team was from Sunninghill Prep School.

Magnus Bashaarat said, “The standard of debating was really high and I greatly enjoyed listening to the lively and entertaining arguments put forward by the different teams.   Debating is an excellent way of building confidence and sharpening thinking; as well as preparing their speeches, the children had to think on their feet when faced with counter arguments from their opponents.  The competition was a fun, friendly way to introduce these young people to debating and I hope they continue to develop their skills in this area at their senior schools.”

Certainly the visiting schools were very appreciative of the day. Sarah Adkin, Head of English at Sandroyd School said, ‘Our students greatly enjoyed themselves. It has inspired them to organise a permanent debate team!’

Schools taking part in the competition were: Castle Court School, Dumpton School, Farleigh School, Forres Sandle Manor School, Hanford School, Sandroyd School and Sunninghill Prep School.