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SG hosts South West regional final of Debating Matters

SG hosts South West regional final of Debating Matters
Enrichment Academic

This Friday Sherborne Girls will play host to the South West regional final of Debating Matters, a national sixth-form debating competition for students from around the UK.

Described as ‘the UK’s toughest debating competition’, Debating Matters, organised by the Academy of Ideas, sees teams of students from private and state schools battling it out over contentious issues. Uniquely among debating competitions, Debating Matters focuses on ‘substance over style’, with rigorous research and clear arguments carrying the day.

The areas for debate on this occasion include whether social egg freezing is morally and socially acceptable; whether we should welcome or fear advances in Artificial Intelligence; whether a universal basic income is the way to a fairer, happier society and whether monuments to controversial historical figures should remain.

Eight teams from the following schools: Truro, Dauntseys, The Burgate School and Sixth Form in Hampshire, St Mary's Shaftesbury, Leweston, The Gryphon School, Sherborne Girls and Gillingham School, will discuss and debate their way through rounds to be whittled down to just two to go against each other in the final held on Friday evening.

The independent guest judges have been selected from a wide variety of career sectors and bring an enormous amount of experience ranging from journalism, the legal sector, authors and educationalists to financial services. They will be looking out for demonstrable research around the topic, mental flexibility under pressure and being able to articulate their opinion clearly and in a compelling manner.

Louise Troup, Head of English at Sherborne Girls, explained the benefits of debating:

“The ability to engage in and listen to a balanced discussion is especially vital in a world dominated by social media, where our individual feeds are tailored to suit our pre-existing opinions. It is also vital for students to engage with issues in real depth in an era of image-based news and skim reading of web content.

“The decline in readership of printed newspapers and the rise of news websites and social media feeds means that our sixth formers receive news in bite-sized accessible chunks. Researching their topics for debating requires real in-depth research and reading and so improves academic skills too.”

Claire Fox, Director of The Academy of Ideas, said:

“The competition prides itself on taking young people seriously, valuing ideas and allowing free debate. Some of the brightest and best students in Dorset will be taken out of their comfort zone by tackling these topics.”

The winners will take home the inaugural Debating Matters Dorset Champions 2018 trophy.

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SG hosts South West regional final of Debating Matters