The academy’s debate team had their first internal competition last week which was live streamed to all of the home teams to get learners talking about current issues.
The new initiative has encouraged some of the most able learners in the school to adapt their classroom-learned skills to more real-life situations. The group was formed with an invitation-only approach where members of staff elected learners who they felt would benefit from applying their strong listening, critiquing and evaluating skills.
The group meets each Monday after school to discuss everything from the influence of celebrities to the control of the government. They must research topics, prepare their arguments and respond appropriately to others’ points of view.
Emma Stratford, who is an English teacher and leads the debate team, said: “The live debate was a huge success and something the learners should be very proud of. We only formed this half term and yet it was like being part of a university team.”
One of the debate team commented: “I’ve never done anything like it before but it’s always really exciting and you have to train yourself to debate and not just argue! We’re also learning a lot about current affairs and hopefully live debates will get others talking about them as well.”
The debate team meetings have now finished for this academic year but they hope to expand in September with more competitions to come. They will also be entering some inter-school competitions.