This is our eighth year in the competition, known as ‘the toughest debating competition in the country’. It is unique in its format; not only do speakers argue against each other, but must also face cross examination from a panel of judges.

We travelled to Congleton High School recently to take part in the Cheshire Qualifying Round. Our teams were accompanied by an enthusiastic minibus full of supporters.

There were three debates:

“Political parties are bad for democracy”

 We took part in this against Congleton. Nathan Meades and Haneen Zeglam spoke against the motion, passionately arguing in favour of the continuing relevance of political parties. The debate ranged widely across recent events in the UK and US.

“Humanity should fear advances in artificial intelligence”

We did not have a team speaking in this debate, giving our students a chance for a breather. Members of the Debate Club who had come along put both teams to the test by asking questions during the floor debate.

“The constant monitoring of our health does more harm than good”

In this debate, we were up against a team from St Bede’s school. Shreesh Sinha and Maymunah Malik spoke for the motion in a very hard fought debate; all four speakers were aspiring medics and the discussion looked at both the specific applications of monitoring in hospitals as well as the more general use of devices such as ‘fitbits’.

At the end of the evening, we were delighted to have won both our debates, meaning that Loreto will now progress to the Regional Finals next year. Fatima Alkali also won the prize for best audience speaker. Our teams were praised for their team work and for sticking to their arguments.

We look forward to competing in the next round!

Chris Yianni from MMU, one of this year’s judges, described DM in his summing up as one of the events he enjoys the most in the academic year, a view echoed by some of the Loreto students who took part, one of whom remarked that it was:

‘…..absolutely terrifying but really worth it! It was amazing fun, a really exhilarating experience….’

whilst another excited participant added that it was:

‘….an incredibly engaging, challenging and stimulating experience, which I thoroughly enjoyed and very much look forward to progressing with.”

Loreto team coach and Debate Club coordinator Ms Tattersall was elated, commenting:

‘I am incredibly proud of the students for really digging deep into the issues and wrestling with some big questions. They worked tirelessly to prepare and competed with huge energy and skill on the night. It was great to see such a big crowd of supporters from Debate Club, keen to grill both sides of the debates and keep them on their toes!’