Debate team wins inaugural competition

Posted on: Wednesday 1 May 2024
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Debate Mate

A team of secondary school pupils has won their first-ever debating competition.

12 pupils from Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw, in Pontypool, took part in the competition at the Christchurch Centre, Newport, last month.  

The team competed against St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Whitmore High School, The Bishop of Llandaff CiW High School and Plasmawr School as part of the Debate Mate competition.  

Participants were given 10 minutes to prepare debates on three-day weekends, social change, and making environmental change law.

The Debate Mate competitions stem from the Welsh Government’s Seren Programme, aimed at supporting able state-educated pupils apply to leading universities. 

Gwenan Dickenson, Ysgol Gymraeg Gwynllyw student with aspirations of studying music at Oxford, said: “This project has given us countless opportunities where we can extend and learn new skills. I am so grateful for this opportunity, even though I was nervous, I’m proud of myself for pushing through and it looks very impressive on the CV!”

Cody Watkins, Year 10 student with aspirations of studying medicine and theology at Cambridge, added: This programme has opened lots of doors for me, even though it takes me away from lessons sometimes, it is complimenting my curriculum by improving my public speaking skills which will be invaluable to me in job interviews and university applications.

Sophie Toovey, Head of English, who over saw the debate project, said: “The Debate Mate programme has been extremely beneficial for improving students public speaking especially since Covid.

“The current school curriculum doesn’t have a lot of space for debating and public speaking, but these are skills that employers are seeking, therefore, we were delighted to take part in this and would love to see it become a future partnership.”

Debate Mate has partnered with the Seren Project, which aims to provide extra opportunities to underprivileged students, by utilising ‘super curriculum’. This includes peer to peer mentoring from students at prestigious universities, support with interviews, UCAS applications, course choices and different pathways available to get to their desired futures.

Last Modified: 01/05/2024 Back to top