Urban Debate League Novice National Final Winners!
On Thursday 13th July a group of Year 8 and 9 students travelled to Imperial College London to compete in the Urban Debate League Novice National Final 2023.
On arrival, the group were escorted to one of the lecture halls at and were given a short introductory presentation about the layout of the day. Then, the students were given their first motion which was: “This house believes that teachers and footballers should be paid equally”. The team had to argue ‘for’ this motion which would have been quite challenging as they had to think outside the box to effectively persuade and impress the judges. Despite the initial nerves in the morning, they managed to work together and allocate roles appropriately to ensure that they showed their best debate skills. As it was an open debate, students were immediately told that they had successfully won against The Jon Roan School. During feedback, they were told that they effectively used to PEEL structure when presenting their debate topics and constantly rebottled their opponents’ ideas which showed high level engagement.
This was then followed by the second motion: “This house would ban children’s toys and video games relating to war”. The second motion was a closed debate (meaning that the winners would not be revealed till the very end) and they went against a grammar school called Hornsey School for Girls, the tenth largest school in Haringey. EPHS had to argue ‘against’ this motion and give reasons to why the house shouldn’t ban war related toys/games. It was a very tough debate as both schools argued remarkably well as they debated head-to-head. Our students presented striking comments such as the idea of war being something that is prevalent in today’s society and the fact that video games give people a visual insight to the realities of war, which school text books cannot offer.
After lunch, it was time for the results to be shared to the competing schools. This is where the top three schools are announced and the two winning schools go head-to-head, with a grand final debate, for the UDL Novice Cup. Ellesmere Park High School came 1st nationally against the top toughest school from across the country. They truly showed excellence, dedication and knowledge throughout their debates. It came as a complete shock to our students when the results were announced as they usually are the ones watching the Grand Final yet it was their turn to take on the stage and be a role model for other young debaters. The final debate was against The Jon Roan School, which they debated during the first motion. They were given 10 minutes preparation time before they were called back into the lecture hall to showcase their arguments. After a rigorous debate, the students closed with their summary speakers and waited for the results to be announced. It wasn’t long until the judges came back in and announced the UDL Novice Cup winners…Ellesmere Park High School!!
Each EPHS student showed good sportsmanship throughout the day as they interacted with students from other schools and found common interests with one another. It was lovely to see them being given the opportunity to interact with national schools as they are not always given the chance to do so. At the end of each debate, they shook hands and congratulated one another for the good debate round. It is important to note that our young debaters have only been debating for 1 year and managed to win the champion title in their first year of debating. The six KS3 students (consisting of Year 8 and 9) demonstrated the enrichment opportunities that are given at the heart of Ellesmere Park High School. They look forward to refining and working on their debating abilities ready for the 2024 competitions.