Tue, 24 Oct 2017
A TEAM of pupils from St Bartholomew’s School emerged victorious against their local rivals in Newbury Town Council’s Schools Debating competition on Tuesday.
There were six teams in total – two from Park House, two from Trinity, one from St Barts and one from St Gabriel’s.
They all took part in the first round and the best two – from St Barts and Park House – went through to the final to debate the topic ‘Should grades in schools be abolished?’
Other topics that were debated included ‘People should not eat meat’, ‘Political parties are bad for democracy’ and ‘Prisons are too soft’.
The debates took place in the council chamber at the town hall and were chaired by the mayor of Newbury, David Fenn.
There were three judges – chairman of the Local Democracy Week working group James Fredrickson; West Berkshire Council’s executive member for children, education and young people, Lynn Doherty (who also sits on Newbury Town Council); and the director of Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, Garry Poulson.
Mr Fredrickson said: “This is a new venture for the council and is a very attractive addition to our local democracy events.
“We’re hopeful the debates will open the door to student involvement in local politics.”
Newbury Town Council chief executive Hugh Peacocke, said: “It was a very high standard and they were all very engaged.
“There were 24 of them in the council chamber and in two hours I didn’t see a single mobile phone come out.
“During the break there was very lively discussion. It was fantastic really.”
The Newbury Weekly News sponsored the prize of a shield and the town council is hoping to make the event an annual fixture.