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Aston University host sixth form debate championships

30th November 2007 – for immediate release

Sixth formers from across Birmingham recently gathered at Aston University to take part in the Birmingham qualifying round of the Institute of Ideas & Pfizer Debating Matters Competition, widely recognised as the toughest championship of its kind in the country.

The team from Kind Edwards VI Five Ways school triumphed at the round and won a place at the competition’s regional final next year. The competition is supported by the Economic and Social Research Council in the Central region.

The four participating schools from the Birmingham area came together to debate the burning issues of the day. These issues included the question of whether tourism benefits the world and if embryonic stem cell research is a good thing.

Kings Norton College, The Northicote School, King Edward VI Five Ways and Wolverhampton School for girls all put up a strong fight, but a final debate between the Northicote and King Edward’s resulted in a King Edward’s win. The team will now go on to represent Birmingham at the Regional Finals in April 2008.

Debating Matters has a well-earned reputation for being the toughest competition of its kind in the country. Its innovative format makes it different from traditional debating. The students from Birmingham all had to cope with questions from a panel of expert judges, as well as a barrage of questions from their competitors and a lively audience. Students are then given critical feedback from the judges in front of the large audience.

Amongst the panel of judges was Anne Stevens, Professor of European Studies at Aston University. Anne commented that the evening was an enjoyable one and that she was impressed by many of the arguments put forward.

Another of the judges who participated at the event was Dr Stuart Derbyshire, who commented that: ‘Most people simply wouldn’t expect people of this age group to answer these kind of questions to the level that they do and with such aplomb…I’m glad that the Debating Matters Competition thinks otherwise.

ENDS

For press inquiries or to interview students, teachers, judges and other participants, please contact Helen Birtwistle on 020 7269 9232, 07799 418 935 or email helenbirtwistle@instituteofideas.com

Notes for Editors

1. The Birmingham qualifying round took place at Aston University on 21 November. It was sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council. For more information about the event please visit www.debatingmatters.com and www.debatingmatters.com/C2B/document_tree/ViewACategory.asp?CategoryID=37

2. The winning school, King Edward the VI Five Ways, will be competing in the competition’s Regional Final in March and April.

3. Years 12 and 13 sixth form students take part (17-18 year olds). The schools taking part in the Birmingham qualifying round Kings Norton College, The Northicote School, King Edward VI Five Ways and Wolverhampton school for girls

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