Wealden students ready for great debate


Students will polish their public speaking skills in a debating competition this month.

It begins on February 28 when sixth formers from Bede’s, Uplands, Hailsham, Heathfield, Beacon, Michael Hall, St Leonards and Uckfield community colleges take part in the opening knock-out rounds. Bede’s Senior School, The Dicker, will host the event. Each debate lasts about 25 minutes and questions from the audience are welcomed.

Teams comprise two people from different schools. They are introduced to each other two weeks before the first Friday when they are given details of the motion they must present.

Early competitors are whittled down to four teams who will then take part in the semi finals, then the finals the following week. They are judged on quality, logic and relevance; structure and timing of the speech including their support for a partner; clarity of their argument; confidence and appearance, verbal delivery and overall conviction and response to their audience.

Judges are Wealden MP Charles Hendry and his successor as Conservative candidate, Nus Ghani. A spokesman said: “Charles enjoys being able to reach out and support young people, allowing them to engage at this level. It is always interesting to see the talent that our local schools have. Former competitors have continued to keep in contact with Mr Hendry, through work experience, career support and meetings with him to discuss their futures.”

The prize is a trip to Parliament, a private tour, Prime Minister’s Question Time tickets and lunch with Mr Hendry.