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Home > News and views > St. Paul’s Girls’ School Wins ESU Schools’ Mace Debating Competition 2023 

St. Paul’s Girls’ School Wins ESU Schools’ Mace Debating Competition 2023 

Can it be legitimate for environmental groups to use the destruction of property to further their aims? At the grand final of the Schools’ Mace debating completion 2023 at Dartmouth House, the team from St. Paul’s Girls’ School convinced judges that it can, despite impressive counterarguments from The King’s School, Worcester, in opposition. Eppie, Maya, Haya and Anya (pictured) beat 11 other semi-finalists to first place – the culmination of a competition in which over 1,150 young people from 345 schools took part.

Jason Vit from The National Literacy Trust and chair of the judges, says, ‘Debating is such a great skill for young people to learn. It teaches you to think critically, to research and, most importantly, it teaches you not to be taken in by the easy or the obvious argument. When we’re faced with fake news, we need citizens of the world who are intelligent, who are critical, who are questioning the information they are presented with.’

‘Being able to think on your feet and respond to what other people say, using evidence and reasoning to back up your arguments – these are life skills that everybody needs,’ says Annabel Thomas MacGregor, judge and ESU Director of Education.

‘The Schools’ Mace debating competition has been an incredible process that has both bonded us as a team and also allowed us to discuss some topics that we would never have considered before,’ says competitor Anya. ‘Coming from an all-girls school it’s really empowering to be able to tackle nuanced topics, to debate on the same level as boys and to discuss relevant issues that affect us now.’

The prestigious Schools’ Mace debating competition is the oldest and largest debating competition for schools, open to students from Key Stages 3 to 5 in all education institutions across England and Wales. Over several heats of topical, passionate dialogue and debate, students develop their knowledge of the world and current affairs, as well as their reasoning and presentation skills, in a lively, enriching and competitive environment. Past winners include Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy.

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