11 March 2022

Upper Sixth students, Jimmy and Archie, make it through to the final of the Oxford School's Debating Competition.

Run by the Oxford Union, Oxford's Schools' is the largest British Parliamentary school-level debate competition in the world, and the largest debating competition in the UK, aimed at students aged 14-18.

The final is taking place on Saturday 12th March.

By Mrs Ballantyne, Head of English

I am delighted that our Senior Debating team, comprised of Jimmy and Archie from the Upper Sixth, have enjoyed regional success, in breaking through to the final of the Oxford Schools' Debating Competition, the most significant and prestigious contest of its category in the world. 

The regional rounds are the largest part of the competition and this stage involved 40 of the most prestigious schools in the area, with Jimmy and Archie giving an impressively skilled performance in their two debates. The final will be our first in-person competition since the start of the pandemic, with the regional round and other competitions having moved online. The students showcased excellence across a wide range of public speaking skills, including motion analysis, framing, comparative analysis, rebuttal and argument development. 

The two motions assigned to the team considered the issues of gender balance in parliament and whether schools ought to prioritise aptitude over age in education. With just fifteen minutes to prepare and without access to advance material, teams are expected to think on their feet and pull together an accomplished and robust debate.

Jimmy and Archie both enthusiastically agree that being involved in debating has greatly benefitted their critical thinking and analytical skills, as well as improving their ability to justify and withstand challenging views. Both are very much looking forward to final day, where they will get to have their say in the hallowed halls of the Oxford Union. 

They say...

"Both of us are incredibly grateful to Mrs Ballantyne for giving us the opportunity to develop these skills and represent the school. We look forward to sharing our insights about Finals Day with our younger debaters who will no doubt be competing in many finals in the coming years."

Finals Day consists of 4 rounds of short-prep debates. The top 16 teams after these rounds shall then progress to the Quarterfinals, then the Semifinals and Finals. You can follow Archie and Jimmy's progress via the Oxford Schools' app: https://oxfordschools2021.herokuapp.com/finalsday/

Good luck Archie and Jimmy #TeamBirkenhead.