Our exceptional debating teams

In February, six students from Year 11 represented St Helen’s in the first round of the English Speaking Union public speaking competition.

Fatima’s speech was in response to the statement ‘Cartoons are cruel’ while Neha discussed the claim that ‘Youth is wasted on the young’ in her speech. The speakers were ably supported by Evie, Ella, Isabella and Asha in their own roles as chairs and questioners.

The students enjoyed the challenge and experience of their first serious competition and represented the school with great credit. One team came runners-up to Harrow School in the end, and Fatima was awarded Best Speaker in the competition, which is an impressive achievement.

Additionally, four students from Year 12 participated in the Cambridge Schools Debating competition at Kingsbury School. This is a very challenging competition as it involves four unprepared debates in one day. Cira and Raagavi achieved two third places in their first competition, and Hannah and Rakhee were third, second, first and second in their debates, narrowly missing out on reaching finals day. The students enjoyed the challenges placed before them and we are incredibly proud of them all.

We never fail to be impressed by the students who represent the school in these competitions. Such enthusiasm and skill are in no small measure due to their experiences of debating in Years 7, 8 and 9, which is a compulsory requirement of the English curriculum at Key Stage 3. We also have two debating clubs as part of the co-curricular provision at school. There are several very promising speakers in 7, 8 and 9 and the future of debating and public speaking looks good.