A fitting way to approach the end of a challenging but inspiring academic year
It has been an eventful academic year as Debating Matters has moved our unique format online to provide a much-needed dose of public-spirited debate and discussion in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The most recent of our online championships provided a fantastic illustration of how essential Debating Matters can be, and gave a great justification for the work done to make sure Debating Matters can thrive online.
It was also a great demonstration of how the Debating Matters format allows new schools to thrive, with both Springwood High School making their debut in the competition but managing to come away with the crown. Bacup & Rawtenstall, winning with a unique approach, also demonstrated another Debating Matters ideal: “Debating Matters because ideas matter”.
A brilliant series of performances gave Barnard Castle School the victory in a challenging week of online debate in Debating Matters’ first Public Policy Championships. It was a fantastic series of debates over the week, showcasing a range of new Debating Matters Topic Guides and a renewed focus on real-world policy discussions.
Debating Matters is delighted to announce its next three championship events. As ever, these championships will see schools from around the country take on their peers in a series of debates overseen by panels of eminent judges.
At the heart of the championships, as always, will be Debating Matters unique brand of ‘substance over style’ debating, the unparalleled interaction between judges and debaters, plenty of audience involvement, and a commitment to taking ideas seriously.
Debating Matters’ unique online championships made a virtual stop in Berlin for a series of high-quality and challenging debates, with the Humboldt Gymnasium beating five other schools from around Berlin to become the Debating Matters Online Berlin Champions.
The third Debating Matters Online Championship ends with Ecclesbourne victorious
Six schools from around the country spent much of January thinking hard about and debating some of the key questions of our time. With pandemic restrictions still in place, Debating Matters was delighted to continue to jump online to offer its unique approach to schools’ debating.
After a hard fought competition, with superb performances from both teams, it was The Ecclesbourne School who ended up champions, beating Gosforth Academy in an exceptional final where Ecclesbourne defended the motion ‘Western museums should repatriate cultural artefacts’.
Debating Matters concluded its first-ever online championships this autumn, with 12 schools battling it out over two competitions to grab the first-ever Debating Matters virtual crowns.
After a long and challenging year, it’s been a thrilling return to Debating Matters. Leaving behind the challenges of bubbles and isolation, 12 schools from around the country logged on to take part in two new-look Debating Matters Championships. The debates that usually characterise our championships – with audiences and peers from different schools all mixing – have not been able to take place in person this year, but we’re delighted to have made our own contribution to ensuring that intellectual life hasn’t been locked down!
Throughout the pandemic, we at Debating Matters have strived to support teachers and pupils through the challenges and keep debate alive. Earlier in the year, we took Debating Matters Online, running several online debates between schools all around the UK. With restrictions on social events set to continue, we’re launching two initiatives to keep debate alive.
First, we are launching our first ever Debating Matters Online Championship.
We’re now recruiting for 6-8 school teams to take part in the first championship, which will be held over a period of two weeks after the October half term (exact dates TBC). Each team will have a minimum of two debates, and if they beat the other teams in their group they will progress to our first ever online final.
After seeing the success of the Debating Matters Online debates run during the Lockdown, former Debating Matters Director Tony Gilland took the spirit of DM Online and decided to engage some old contacts from his time running Debating Matters India (2008-2014). Tony organised three debates between Queen Elizabeth Grammar School and teams in India.
In this article, Debating Matters competitor Emma Gilland reports on the success of the series of debates:
Through the early month of lockdown many of us felt that not only were we missing out on school but in fact we were missing out on more than that, as all our time, thoughts and conversation were consumed by the dramas and injustices of lockdown. Although it could be seen that this brought a certain level of abnormality and interest it also was the centre of repetitive and dull conversation, which is why the re-ignition of the Debating Matters India online was such a great experience.