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Lawnswood Debaters Through to Finals!

A team of KS4 Lawnswood students have just qualified for the finals of the Headingley Festival of Ideas debate competition.

Lawnswood hosted the debate on Tues 23 January (which is organised by Leeds Salon) winning one of three qualifying rounds of the competition for years 10 and 11 pupils. Lawnswood beat Abbey Grange School, the current title holders, who were recognised by the judges as presenting some very strong arguments.

Lawnswood Year 11 students Hanan Raszvi and Owen Spafford, and Year 10 students Cristabel Baah and Aisha Dodo both won their debates against Abbey Grange School, with Owen Spafford being awarded the best debater of the evening.

Hanan and Owen stood against the motion “We welcome the __________of human genome editing” and were praised by judges for arguing strongly from scientific (Hanan) and moral (Owen) perspectives.

Christabal and Aisha arguing in favour of the motion “We should accept the risk inherent in contact sports” and were praised for their focus on the rights of individuals, and their considered responses under questioning.

Both teams who were debating for the first time, were supported by the Debate Club members who helped to research, write and coach them prior to the event.  Cara Hughes played a key part in writing the contact sports speech with the help of Asiman Banning.  Hanan and Owen were supported by Yosif Rasoul, Soham Taware and Shashwat Chahar.

The art of debate involves mastering skills of obvious intrinsic value: research and team work; speaking in public; the construction of a logical argument; the ability to read an audience’s reactions; and, perhaps most importantly, the willingness to hear others’ arguments, and to respond to them. Its great fun, working with other students to construct an argument, and really helps to develop students self confidence.

If you would like to be involved in the Debate Club, either researching or speaking, see Ms Stevenson or Mrs Hallas for further details.

We are now looking forward to the final of the Headingley Festival Ideas is against Cardinal Heanan, and Allerton Grange Schools at Heart in Headingley on 21 March.

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