Wimbledon Schools Compete In UK's Toughest Debating Competition

But Godalming pupils prove smart on tough topics

Four teams of students from Wimbledon and Surrey schools convened on Wimbledon High School vying for a place in the regional finals of the UK’s toughest debating competition.

After an evening of hard-fought debate, Godalming College were proven victorious, having triumphed over Wimbledon High School in the final debate and impressed the judges with their quick-witted and astute arguments.

The schools on the day discussed diverse issues such as doping in sport and the television licence fee. The competition is sponsored by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in the London South Region and by the Wellcome Trust nationally.

The Merton qualifying round of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition was held at Wimbledon High School on October 1.

Regarded as the toughest debating competition in the UK, debaters had to prove they could answer the tough questions to claim the top prize, as Godalming College did.  A brilliant speech alone will not suffice in the competition which tests students’ knowledge, as well as their public speaking skills.

As well as the victorious school, Ashcroft Technology College in Wandsworth and Wimbledon's Ursuline High School also submitted teams. All were disappointed by the result but enjoyed making contributions to the debates from the floor as well as speaking on the panels. Eamonn Lynch-Bowers, Godalming College, impressed the judges with his sharp contributions from the floor and was named Best Individual

During the debates students were grilled by a group of expert judges and professionals from across Surrey. Judges included Len Gooblar, head of strategic health initiatives, AbbVie UK; Fran Morrison, former BBC journalist; Lisa Tremble, external affairs director, Mishcon de Reya; and Shaun Wright, doctoral research student, Royal Holloway University of London.

The teenage wiz-kids debated contemporary political, scientific and cultural controversies in a full evening of debate. Everyone agreed that all students engaged in a friendly yet fiery manner, and all the judges were impressed by the contribution the students made to these key issues.

October 4, 2015