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Children and young people, Democracy

Young orators take over the council chamber

Students from six Lambeth secondary schools took over the council chamber for the annual schools debating competition and the standard was higher than ever.

The contest pits school teams against each other to test pupils’ ability to weigh up, consider and discuss issues intelligently.

The winner was St Martin in the Fields High School for Girls, whose impressive team took the title for the second year running. The Elmgreen School, one of the borough’s newest schools, was the runner-up.

Elmgreen’s achievement was particularly noteworthy given that it fielded a team against other competitors a year or even two older than the Elmgreen participants.

St Martins spoke against a motion stating that people carrying out mercy killings should always be prosecuted. Elmgreen opposed a motion demanding that the voting age be lowered to 16.

Tosin Olukoga from St Martins in the Fields School for Girls was awarded Best Speaker, Tabitha Manzuangani from Norwood School was judged Best Chairperson, and the Best Questioner was Selina Kwateng from Charles Edward Brooke School.

The six schools taking part were St Martins, Elmgreen, London Nautical School, Norwood School, Lilian Baylis School and Charles Edward Brooke School.

The winning team, the runners-up, and the individual winners were invited to the Council meeting on Wednesday 17 March and presented with their prizes at full council.

The winning team received a trophy, WH Smiths vouchers for £50.00 each and a cheque for their school for £200.00. This year there saw an additional prize of one day’s work experience with a barrister at 1 Grays Inn Square, which was very generously offered by Councillor David Malone.

The runners up each got a £25.00 WH Smiths voucher and a cheque for their school for £200.00.

The individual prizes for Best Speaker, Best Questioner and Best Chairperson were £25.00 WH Smiths vouchers, and each participant was presented with a certificate.

Councillor Jim Dickson, Lambeth cabinet member for finance and resources, said: I congratulate the winning school on their presentation, but I know that all the schools that competed put in a huge effort, so I would like to extend my congratulations to everyone who took part in this excellent competition.

“Intelligent debate and discussion is at the heart of democracy and it has played an integral part in the way our country has developed since the foundation of Parliament. “

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