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St Mary’s students debate their way to finals and next round of national competitions

Year 12 Debate team

Two St Mary’s (@StMarysSch) debate teams are celebrating after one successfully reached the next round in the English Speaking Union’s (@theESU) Schools’ MACE debating competition, whilst the other came second in the ESU Public Speaking Competition.

Each year more than 300 schools participate in the ESU competition, which is the oldest and largest debating battle in England for school children in Years 7-13. During the competition, students work in teams to demonstrate their speech-writing, public speaking and critical thinking skills – an experience that helps them excel both in and out of school, and gives them a huge sense of pride.

The St Mary’s Year 12 debating team, which included students Amelie A, Isabelle M and Vanya C, participated in an online verbal contest against students from The Perse School. The subject the students were discussing was: ‘This House would make fines for criminal and civil offences proportionate to the wealth of the offender’. St Mary’s team were crowned the winners by an experienced judging panel and will now face new opponents in the next round of heats in January.

Additionally, the Year 11 St Mary’s team also competed at the ESU Public Speaking Competition. Despite the competition taking place in the middle of Year 11’s mock exams, the team, comprised of Clem S, Victoria G and Talitha M.H, committed to the competition and came an impressive second place. The team have been supported throughout by Amelie, Isabelle and Vanya in Year 12, with Amelie even attending the competition.

St Mary’s English Teacher, Miss Severis, said:

“This is a fantastic achievement for our girls, who gave it their all . At St Mary’s we always encourage our students to stand up for what they believe in, to listen to others, to communicate what they believe in and to continually challenge themselves. The ESU competitions are a great way for our students to put into practice the values we teach them and hone their debating skills in a fun yet competitive environment. The team work our girls demonstrated was impecable – as was the respect they showed for their opponents. I’m so proud of them and as a school we look forward to the next heats in the New Year.”

The ESU believes that every child should be able to make their voice heard. Through its debate, public speaking and cultural exchange programmes, the ESU helps young people to engage with the world, to speak more confidently and to listen to and understand different points of view. The ESU regional finals of the MACE debate competition will take place in late February / early March, with the national final taking place in late March. The overall winners of the national final will receive a silver mace (featuring an owl) which goes on display in Dartmouth House

For further information about the ESU or the Schools’ MACE debate competition, please visit here.

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