Youngsters get turn at debating

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Education | Published:

A programme to teach school pupils the art of debating is celebrating the start of its third year.

The Debate-Ed scheme was launched by Lanyon Bowdler solicitor, Holly Edwards, to encourage youngsters to take up debating while at school and has seen more than 400 children take part.

The start of the programme’s third year was marked with a special event at the Lanyon Bowdler offices in Shrewsbury, attended by school representatives and the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Jane Mackenzie.

Pupils taking part this year will have the opportunity of obtaining a formal English Speaking Board (ESB) qualification for the first time, to recognise the importance of the skills developed through debating.

Tina Renshaw, chief executive of the English Speaking Board (ESB), said: “Our innovative debating qualifications aim to improve learners’ critical thinking, analysis, and problem solving skills, as well as allowing them to develop their public speaking skills.

“All ESB qualifications support the least confident and stretch the most able learners. Teachers are increasingly seeing the value of communication-based activities, which give learners the confidence to find their voice, giving them a clear advantage in the wider world.”

Catherine Armstrong, vice principal of the Shrewsbury Colleges Group, whose students are undertaking the project, said it was a hugely positive programme for everyone involved.

She said: “The Debate-Ed programme is a great opportunity for students to develop their presentation skills and confidence with public speaking, which is a valuable tool for progression to University and employment.

“We are very grateful for the time and commitment that Holly provides for this programme.”


Kay Kelly, partner at Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors which sponsors the scheme, said: “When Holly first joined Lanyon Bowdler as a trainee solicitor, she had a vision to create a debating programme for local schoolchildren and the way she has gone about it has been hugely impressive.

“It is now a valued part of school life for many, and the skills that children learn through debating are vitally important when they start applying for jobs.

“We are delighted with the continued success of the programme and are proud to be a part of it.”

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Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.


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