Debating clubs: state school debaters are as ardent as their Etonian rivals
28 January 2013
On Sunday 27th Janauary Debate Mate's response to Barbara Ellen's article "Are Stephen Twigg's plans good? Debatable." was published in The Guardian. Founder and CEO, Margaret McCabe and Vice President, Sir Peter Bazalgette wrote the following:
"In last week’s Observer Barbara Ellen attacked the idea of putting debating clubs in state schools. Her argument that debating remains the preserve of private schools serves only to reinforce the very stereotype she mocks. That state school pupils and their schools cannot benefit from debating is a fallacy; a fallacy that we at Debate Mate continue to expose and aim to abolish.
Debate Mate runs after school debating clubs in 180 primary and secondary schools in areas of high child poverty across the UK. Sir Michael Wilshaw, Ofsted Chief Inspector of Schools, has stated ‘Debate Mate is a wonderful organisation which inspires young people. The debating groups and training programmes are first class.’
Sir Michael said this because debating equips young people from all backgrounds and abilities with the skills to listen and speak with confidence; to articulate logical arguments; to see the world beyond the classroom and engage with the issues that affect them. All of this is while raising aspirations and having fun. All of this for less than £150 per student per year.
The young debaters of Britain are not only on the playing fields of Eton, they are in Debate Mate clubs in inner city London, Birmingham, Manchester and Nottingham.
A warm welcome awaits Ms Ellen at any of these weekly clubs. We are confident that she will be persuaded by our case for the proposition that debating should, in the words of Lord Andrew Adonis, be at the ‘heart of modern education.’
Margaret McCabe (Founder & CEO) and Sir Peter Bazalgetter (Vice President)"
Have a read of the original article:
and see if you agree with our and other peoples response:
We'd also like to extend an invite to Barbara to come along to any of the Debate Mate clubs and to check out the #UDL2013 on twitter. This will give her some indication of the excitment and engagement our students have with debating.