10 February 2016

Sutton students prepare to do battle in town’s annual schools debating competition

Budding politicians from secondary schools in Sutton Coldfield are preparing to go head to head in the town’s prestigious debating competition.

Now in its 13th year, the annual Sutton Coldfield Inter-Schools Parliamentary Debating Competition will take place at 6.30pm on 25 February at the Arthur Terry School, which won the competition last year.

Organised by Andrew Mitchell, MP for Sutton Coldfield, the competition will feature the following schools and college: Arthur Terry, Birmingham Metropolitan College, Bishop Vesey’s, Bishop Walsh, Fairfax, John Willmott, Plantsbrook and Sutton Girls.

The judging panel will include Observer editor Gary Phelps, as well as Ernie Murray, clerk to the trustees for Sutton Coldfield Charitable Trust, and Honorary Alderman, David Roy OBE, retired city councillor and past Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

The motions to be debated in the first round have now been revealed, with proposing and opposing schools covering a number of topical and controversial subjects. The young speakers will battle it out in a first round, followed by a second round of debates on unseen motions which teams will have to prepare for against the clock on the night. Trophies will be awarded to the best school and the best individual speaker and all participants will have the opportunity to visit Parliament with Andrew Mitchell MP.

Mr Mitchell, who will chair the debate, said: “This event always produces engaging debates across a range of social, moral and political issues and this year’s motions are both topical and challenging. It’s an intellectually demanding environment, which provides young people in Sutton Coldfield with a platform to practice their public speaking and to build their team work and confidence. The competition is also an opportunity for the students to sharpen their analytical skills and to construct some persuasive arguments – in subjects they may not agree with, which is a great test of their debating prowess.

I’m proud of how the competition has grown over the years and of the wealth of talented young people our local schools are producing, and I’m delighted to be chairing the event once again.”

Richard Gill, headteacher of Arthur Terry School, said: “We’re honoured to be hosting this key event at our school and we look forward to welcoming all our judges and participants.

“The competition is such an important opportunity for our schools to come together and debate some of today’s most pressing issues and to think on their feet, which demonstrates just how capable our students are. Clearly, Arthur Terry would love to replicate last year’s success and our students will certainly be giving it their all to retain the coveted title!”

Motions:  1st Round

“This House believes aid does more for national security than bombing”

Fairfax School vs John Willmott School


“This House believes that democracy has failed”

Sutton Coldfield Grammar School for Girls vs Birmingham Metropolitan College
“This House believes that drone strikes should be considered unlawful”

Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School v Bishop Walsh
“This House believes Parliament no longer serves the people”

The Arthur Terry School vs Plantsbrook School