For the final round of debating competitions, it was the turn of our Y7 students to go head-to-head. As our whole-school focus week is refugees, the topic was as challenging as any that have come up so far: ‘Britain has a responsibility to take in more refugees’.

The students argued for and against in the battle to win valuable points for their Houses. The Year 7 students who took part were simply fantastic and an absolute credit to themselves and their houses. The amount of research that they had undertaken independently was at a level not seen in any other year group.

Students backed up their statements by referring directly to key facts and information, including the Geneva Convention for Human Rights, facts and figures on housing shortages in the UK, numbers of medical professionals leaving war-torn countries, such as Syria, and the impact of a growing population on public services. One student had even discovered that Marks and Spencer, one of the UK’s most famous brands, was started by a Polish refugee!

What really shone through in the debates was a very developed and mature understanding of British Values and an understanding of some of the modern-day issues facing our country. The students also showed a very strong sense of moral responsibility in the way that they approached their statements. Probably the most impressive part of the whole process was the mutual respect shown to one another by the students: not speaking over each other, raising their hand to make a point and handshakes from the team captains at the end; MPs could certainly learn a lot from our Y7s about how to conduct a debate!

Jamie Checkland, Chair of Governors, and Lauren Gray, History teacher, had the unenviable task of judging a winner and it was Garrick with 88 points who claimed the victory, however, there were only 6 points separating all of the Houses. The most valuable debaters were Isabella Keeling and Lily Kennedy.

Jamie Checkland, Chair of Governors, said: “The debates have been wonderful throughout the year and every year group has impressed. It has been a pleasure to judge the contests.”