Debating & Public Speaking Teams Reach the National Final of Three Separate Competitions

Debating & Public Speaking Teams Reach the National Final of Three Separate Competitions

Students from Malton School have won through to the national finals of three separate and prestigious debating competitions to be held over the next three weeks.

This coming weekend Iona Spence and Laura Mackay travel to Oxford for the Oxford Union Schools’ Debating Competition finals. This is the largest schools’ debating competition in the world with over 1,000 schools entering from 5 different continents. Iona and Laura reached these finals last year and were placed 48th out of the 100 schools who reached the finals, meaning they were in the top 5% of all the schools who entered the competition. They hope to improve upon their ranking this year and perhaps reach the Grand Final itself.  Speaking in advance of the event, Iona was very aware how much of a privilege it was to appear in the Oxford Debating Chamber, a grand venue which has seen many influential people pass through its doors.

The following weekend Iona and Laura travel to Cambridge for the Cambridge Union Schools’ Debating Competition finals. This is the first time they have reached the Cambridge finals. This event is smaller than Oxford but teams compete at a very high level.

And on 27th March a different team – Molly Ballam, Laura Mackay and Martha Johnson – have reached the national finals of the English Speaking Union Schools’ Mace competition to be held at Dartmouth House in London.  For Martha, this will be her first national debating final and she is very much relishing the opportunity to continue the legacy of those who have gone before her at Malton School.

In addition to the above, one of our public speaking teams (Sofia Jones, Josephine Hahn and Otto James-Bell) has progressed through to the northern final (effectively a national semi-final) of the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition to be held in York on 11th March.  Otto was very much looking forward to the final and described it as an ‘exciting opportunity’.  He was also very proud of the team’s accomplishments in reaching this stage.

As they have won successive heats, the teams have knocked out some very strong competition from an array of prestigious schools throughout the country – from the home counties just North of London all the way up to the Scottish border.

Mr Williams, who coaches the School’s teams credits the creation of the School’s PDA time through an extended day on a Thursday as having played a major part in building this high level of success. It has created space to build a wider public speaking and debating squad to operate and support each other in developing aspiration and deepening their skill-set. The older students support the younger ones and provide a role model to aspire towards.

The next challenge for the School’s students if they win one of these competitions is to gain a place on the England team for the World Finals, for which there are just 4 spaces. Mr Williams previously coached 3 students from two different schools in the 1990s to achieve this, including Amanda Pritchard who is now the Chief Executive Officer of the NHS in England. Speaking before the first event he said, “It would be amazing to see a Malton student achieve this accolade and gain a place on the national team for the World finals.”

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