On Wednesday 24 April, the Isleworth & Syon debating ‘A’ team won the Debate Mate Cup. The competition was held at London Metropolitan University, with 52 schools taking part in a series of unseen debates. Motions were only revealed minutes before the debates, meaning that students had to work well as a team to think quickly and carefully. One debate discussed the topical subject of climate change, while another saw students arguing for a three-day weekend. Isleworth & Syon students progressed through the rounds with consummate skill, before facing St. George’s Catholic School in the final. The team were selected to debate in favour of the government having access to digital communication records, a complex and nuanced topic for which they only had twenty minutes to prepare. In a close, hard-fought debate, the Isleworth & Syon team emerged as victors.
This win is the culmination of months of hard work from the team. Every week since September, the English department has run a debating club on Tuesdays after school, and it has been extremely well-attended by boys keen to develop their public speaking skills. Sophie Hannon, Curriculum Leader for English, commented after the event, “We are delighted with the boys’ win. It reflects the school’s commitment to extra-curricular enrichment, consistently offering students opportunities to develop themselves both academically and personally. Debaters become better critical thinkers and communicators – and, thus, readers and writers – skills which are of huge value in the study of any academic subject. Beyond the curriculum, debate plays a vital role in developing our young people to become informed, thoughtful, active citizens.”