The team’s success at the Regional finals in April, where the team beat stiff competition from 50 other teams from the West Midlands and Manchester, took them to London to participate in the National finals as one of the top eight debate teams in England.
After a very early start, the team, consisting of Alisha Sasaru (y10), Britanie Boyd, Abigael Glover, Sukhmanpreet Girn (Y9), Sam Grainger and Ryan Goldsmith (y8), arrived in London and were ushered through the Houses of Parliament to the grandly furnished select committee rooms.
In the quarter finals, Wood Green Academy were drawn against Central Foundation Boys’ School (the previous year’s winners) to argue against the motion “This house would legalise all drugs”. The debate took place in the Walpole room, the same room in which the interviews for the Iraq war inquiry were held. The team had 20 minutes to prepare their arguments in opposition of the motion, before taking their places at the committee tables for the debate to begin.
All four of the speakers spoke confidently, passionately and eloquently at length, picking numerous holes in the proposition team’s arguments – a key strength that was commented on by the judges. The judging panel took 30 minutes to decide which of the teams had won, finally awarding it to Central Foundation. All three of the judges were impressed with the quality of the arguments put forward, and the professionalism of the Wood Green Academy team, none of whom have been debating for as long as the pupils on the other teams in the finals.
Central Foundation Boys’ School went on to beat their opposition in the semi-finals and qualified for the Grand Final, to be held at the National Portrait Gallery.
The Wood Green team were superb and held their own against far more experienced debaters. They were a real credit to themselves and the school.
Well done team!