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SG hosts Debating Matters South West Championship




SG hosts Debating Matters South West Championship
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Sixth-form students from eight schools will battle it out for the title of ‘Debating Matters South West Champions’ at the regional final of the national debating competition when Sherborne Girls hosts the event on Thursday 23 January 2020.

Debating Matters (organised by the the boi charity) is described as ‘the UK’s toughest debating competition’ and 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 autonomous vehicles make driving safer; should childhood vaccinations be compulsory and whether people should have more than two children.

Teams from Exeter College, Gillingham School, The Gryphon School, Sturminster Newton Sixth Form, The Purbeck School, Sherborne School, Bryanston and Sherborne Girls will discuss and debate their way through rounds to be whittled down to just two to go against each other in the final.

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.”

Geoff Kidder, the chief executive of the Battle of Ideas (boi) charity, said:

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

Last year, Sherborne Girls took the title of South West Champions and have been preparing and working hard to try and regain the accolade.







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SG hosts Debating Matters South West Championship