Garrick and Johnson tied for first place in the recent Year 8 debate on the local tourism offer. The two teams couldn’t be separated and so, for the first time in living memory, the spoils were shared.

The joint winners scored 62 points apiece. Seward came second with 42 points, narrowly squeezing out Darwin, who scored 41 points.

Teams debated the statement: ‘The tourist offering for Lichfield is woeful.’ The debates were chaired by Mrs Cresswell, whilst school governors Jane Mackenzie and Ann Carlisle kindly served as independent judges. Points were awarded from strong opening and closing statements, making original points and successful rebuttals. Points could be detracted for speaking over another contributors.

The winning teams were: Hector Nottage, Eliza Grotane, Alfie Plumridge and Sophie Scarbrough (Garrick); Summer Sidaway, Phoenix Ivey, Amy Bridge and Georgia Szamek (Johnson).

The governors chose Eliza Grotane and Phoenix Ivey as the overall ‘Most Valuable Debaters’. Meanwhile, Matthew Allen (Seward) and Summer Sidaway also received a special mention for their strong contribution to the debates.

Other participants were: Harry Compton, Chloe Mulligan, Abigail Ilonzeh, Izzy Gould, Tim Huskisson, Maddie Tharm and Emmy Johnson.

The judges were impressed with the debate teams and the level of independent research and preparation that were clearly demonstrated.

The challenges and advantages of Lichfield as a tourist destination were explored in depth. For example, Izzy highlighted the poor parking in Lichfield for visitors to the city; Matthew described the lack of pedestrian walkways.

On the other hand, Eliza spoke eloquently about how her more distant relatives enjoy the sites and attractions in Lichfield when they come to visit. Summer mentioned the good access that Lichfield has, with two train stations, adding that tourists come to Lichfield ‘to enjoy and admire its history.’

Mark Drury, Assistant Headteacher, said: “It’s so important for young people to be able to speak out and explain themselves clearly. The debates are a great opportunity, well supported by the governors, and it’s fantastic to see students making the most of them. All participants receive House Points and certificates. Well done to all the students who took part in the debates.”