Mayfield girls ask serious questions


Girls from St Leonards-Mayfield School won a tough debating competition last week.

They beat Burgess Hill School for Girls in the final of the Sussex qualifying round of The Institute of Ideas Debating Matters competition.

The St Leonards team tackled the subject of whether unhealthy lifestyles are the business of government. The event was held at Ardingly College on November 12.

The competition is primarily funded by the Wellcome Trust, the UK’s largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research.

A unique feature of the Debating Matters Competition is the grilling that the debaters face, firstly from a panel of expert judges who question them on their arguments and challenge them to defend their research and thinking, and then subsequently from the audience.

Through this the debaters, whilst competing, also make an important contribution to public debates on contemporary and relevant topics. The judges also give the debaters feedback on their performances.

Judges for the Sussex qualifying round included: Sean Bell of the Brighton Salon; Emma Mitchell, cabaret artist and stand-up comedian; Simon Mouatt of Southampton Solent University; Andrew Black of London Metropolitan University and Phil Booth of medConfidential.

The sixth form students grappled with some of the most burning and topical issues of the day.

Along with the debates mentioned above the students also debated fracking and whether artistic expression should ever be censored.