08 Mar 2011: TEENAGE UPP-STARTS WIN DEBATE FINAL WITH FORCE OF ARGUMENT AND FEISTY STYLE
After a fierce day of debate in Cambridge, students from Uppingham School in Rutland emerged victorious, chosen as debating champions by prestigious judges in the East Regional Final of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition on Monday 7 March.
In addition, Katie Heard, a member of the debate team, won the coveted prize for ‘Best Individual’ debater in the East Region – with the team of ‘individual judges’ concluding that she was ‘feisty and relentless’ in her arguments across the day.This is the second time Uppingham has made it to the final in the seven years the competition has been running. Considering their performance at the final on the 7 March, judges predicted that they would go far. Uppingham won both of their early rounds against Roundwood Park School and Spalding Grammar and then took on Luton Sixth Form College in the final, successfully arguing against the motion ‘Wikileaks is good for democracy’.
Teacher Ben Fell, who has coached the Uppingham team to success, said of the day:
“It’s all about preparation. All the hard work was done beforehand and today has been fantastic. I have been so impressed by my debaters, who have had the balls to stand up to the scrutiny from leading judges and come back hard with strong arguments.”
Ben Fell believes they will go on to achieve great things at the 3-day Debating Matters Competition National Final in London in July, which the students won a place to, alongside subscriptions to Encyclopaedia Britannica and £500 worth of Hodder Education books for their school.
Caroline Bertrand, a debater from Uppingham school, attributed the team’s success to the judges preparedness to push students and challenge them to come up with the goods:
“The format of Debating Matters is what makes the competition great and an authentic battle of ideas. The involvement of the judges, whilst scary, has really kept us on our toes and made us better. National Final here we come!”
Paul Cutts, CEO of the Exhibition Road Cultural judged the Uppingham team at the final debate and said:
“Today has been my first time as a Debating Matters judge and it is a joy and a privilege to have been here on the day. It really has been a pleasure to meet such a combative, intelligent and passionate group of young people.”
Speaking at the end of the day Adrian Penrose, MRC Regional Communications Manager said of the day:
“Debating Matters, is a completely genuine public engagement event that encourages all who are involved – the students, judges, teachers and audience members to openly debate some of the most important issues of the day. Many of these debates are integral to the work of the Medical Research Council. The MRC is funded by the taxpayer and communication is a hugely important part of our mission. Our need to have open discussion and debate with the public, scientists, policy makers, industry and other partners means that competitions like Debating Matters become ever more important.”
High profile judges included: Jeremy Musson, writer and broadcaster; Dr Julian Huppert MP, Member of Parliament for Cambridge; Dr Simon Griffiths, deputy Director of the MRC Epidemiology Unit and more.
Notes for Editors
1. The East Regional Final of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition took place at the CRUK Cambridge Research Institute, Cambridge on Monday 8th March. This region of the competition is sponsored by the Medical Research Council (MRC).
2. Uppingham received £500 worth of Hodder Education books. The runner-up school wins £250 worth of Hodder Education books. Both receive a year’s online subscription to Encylopaedia Britannica.
3. Years 12 and 13 sixth form students take part (17-18 year olds).
4. Full details of the programme for the day, including all the debate motions and topic guides, can be found here
Notes for Photo Editors: From L-R: Katie Heard, Esme Srigings, Caroline Bertrand, Holly Emms