Launch of Year Three of Debate-Ed

The Debate-Ed scheme run by Holly Edwards, a solicitor at Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors in Shropshire, is now entering its third year. This was marked by a launch event at Lanyon Bowdler’s Shrewsbury office on Wednesday 13 September which was attended by the Mayor of Shrewsbury, Jane Mackenzie and school representatives.

The Debate-Ed Launch

The hugely successful programme aims to encourage high school students to take part in debating whilst at school and has so far seen 400 children take part.

Kay Kelly, partner at Lanyon Bowdler was intrigued by Holly’s vision to start such a scheme, and upon embarking as a trainee solicitor, Holly was able to make her vision a reality with the support of the firm who have sponsored the programme from the beginning. The scheme has increased in number year on year and for its third anniversary has teamed up with the English Speaking Board (ESB) to enable the students taking part to obtain a formal qualification, recognising the importance of the skills developed through their debating.

Tina Renshaw, chief executive of the 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."

These qualifications really complement the educational workshops provided by the Debate-Ed programme and ensure that students will be able to take away something meaningful upon completion of the programme.

Catherine Armstrong, vice principal of Shrewsbury College Group, whose students undertake training by Debate-Ed to teach these important skills to the school children has said that the scheme is a hugely positive programme. Ms Armstrong acknowledges that the scheme helps the students to develop confidence with public speaking as well as presentation skills, which are all valuable skills that will no doubt help the students to progress at university, and further into employment.

Having assisted with the programme last year, I am excited to see what this year will bring. The students really enjoyed the sessions and the competition in March was a huge success with high quality debating taking place. Having not had the opportunity to take part in such a scheme when I was at school, I think it is a fantastic way to help students with their confidence and communication skills. I wish it had been around when I was at school!


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