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Winners! Debating team win competition

A team of students from Grange now have their sights set on competing nationally after they triumphed in a local school debating competition last week.  The team impressed judging panels comprising of top professionals from the legal and finance sectors across two competition rounds, the latter of which was held at the Leeds offices of international law firm Pinsent Masons. 

The team from Grange beat off competition from schools across West Yorkshire including Lightcliffe Academy, Tong High School and Abbey Grange Academy on their way to winning the competition.  Miruna Ceuca, Nisha Shahid and Ruqayyah Sharif, all in Year 10 at Grange set themselves up with a strong performance in the heats which were held on home turf at the Southfield Grange Campus the week before. 

The topics debated in the final included whether low paid workers should be replaced by robots, if Leeds Bradford Airport should be expanded and whether computer hacking is unethical.  The teams had to prepare and deliver their argument as a team, articulating their points and reacting to the counterpoints put forward by their opposition to impress the judges. 

Alison Mander, Headteacher at Grange said: “We’re extremely proud of our team’s achievement in winning this competition over the two rounds.  They have shown great intelligence, confidence and communication skills to achieve this victory.  I have no doubt they can compete at a higher level and look forward to seeing their progress in the future.”

The event was one of many opportunities made available to the schools through their participation in Ahead Partnership’s Make the Grade programme, a partnership between business and education to equip young people with the skills they need for the working world. 

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s Chief Executive, said: “These young women showed excellent preparation and development through the competition. Learning to present your ideas and opinions in front of a business audience is a tricky skill that many young people struggle with – their commitment has seen them handle even the trickiest subjects with aplomb which is exactly what this competition set out to achieve. The team should be very proud.”

Henri Murison, Public Affairs Manager at Yorkshire Building Society, who helped to judge the debate, said: “The judges were extremely impressed by the high standard across all teams, which made for an afternoon of lively and interesting debating. The three Grange students were extremely worthy winners, clearly demonstrating both an understanding of public policy and a talent for public speaking. We were particularly impressed by their extensive research and analysis of the subject to create a cogent and compelling argument and their ability to deliver and reason their case strongly without overly relying on notes. They are a credit to the region and we hope they will go on to showcase their talents in future competitions.”