Congratulations to Winstanley College students Rebecca Leech and Oliver Derbyshire who both received prestigious awards for their individual performances in a national debating competition.
Organised by BBC Radio Four ‘Moral Maze’ regular Claire Fox, ‘Debating Matters’ is a day-long debating competition hosted by Liverpool University. Rebecca, a former pupil of Westhoughton High School, took home the award for ‘Best Speaker’. Oliver, formerly of St. Peter’s Catholic High School, was recognised for his ‘Honourable Individual Contribution’ by Nigel Gilmour QC, a former Circuit Court judge, as the student most able to construct logical, persuasive arguments.
Winstanley offers a wide range of extra-curricular debating activities. Within college, there is a popular Debating Society, regularly attended by over 100-plus students. The college also competes in various national competitions such as the Academy of Ideas ‘Debating Matters’ competition, the International Model United Nations in Germany and its sister competition for UK schools and colleges in Birmingham. Next year, there are plans to take part in the prestigious Cambridge Union competition.
In addition, numerous debating events are held throughout the year with guest speakers such as Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham and a wide range of political organisations including Animal Aid on veganism and Unlock Democracy on votes at sixteen.
Rebecca Leech, the outgoing Debating Society President who holds an offer to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University said: ‘Debate is incredibly expressive and fulfilling. I strongly encourage future Winstanley students to make the most of the opportunities available at college for both self-improvement and a deeper understanding of the fundamental issues facing our world. It opens doors for the future’.
Tutor David Cartwright, who organises the Debating Society, added: ‘Oliver and Rebecca distinguished themselves against fantastic competitors from schools and colleges across the North West. Their experience in internal debates and their willingness to become better debaters marks them out as an example to follow for next year’s students’.