All a matter of debate for Wealden students

Semi final and final of debating comp for schools in the area with MP Charles Hendry, St Bede's Senior School

Semi final and final of debating comp for schools in the area with MP Charles Hendry, St Bede's Senior School

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STUDENTS from Heathfield and Mayfield talked their way to success in the final of The Wealden Schools’ Debating Cup at St Bede’s Senior School, Upper Dicker, last Thursday.

Helena Collimore, of Heathfield Community College, and Connie O’Conor from St Leonard’s Mayfield were the winners.

The first round took place with debates on the legalisation of drugs, Scottish Independence, capital punishment and nuclear power.

St Bedes’s George Dabby won and went through to the second round.

The second round saw debates on whether or not: ‘The assassination of a dictator can never be justified’ and on the motion: ‘Competitors from countries with murderous regimes should be barred from the London Olympics’ with four contestants going through to the final, an all-girls event on: ‘Charity begins at home, so the Overseas Aid Budget should be cut in difficult economic times’.

The competition, to be annual, was inaugurated in April, the brainchild of MP Charles Hendry and organised by his researcher Rachel Dowling, together with St Bedes’s Head of Philosophy and Ethics, Marc Rattray. It brought together eight schools: St Bede’s, Michael Hall, St Leonard’s Mayfield, Hailsham CC, Uckfield CC, Beacon CC, Uplands CC and Heathfield CC. with teams made up of two students from two different schools and the aim of bringing together Wealden as a community.

Mr Hendry took a number of gifts from the House of Commons and added a light touch to the proceedings highlighting that, as a politician, he was keener on ‘form than substance’.

There were a number of eminent judges including BBC presenter Esther Rantzen, the Chairman of East Sussex County, Cllr Chris Dowling  and Helen Richardson, a director of the charity ‘ACT On It’ which helps disadvantaged students who have dropped out of the school system through drama.