Winning is wonderful – I’m not going to lie!

Students from Redland Green School have won the Youth Speaks debating competition, beating schools from across the UK. The  Rotary competition develops young people’s skills in public speaking; each team puts forward a motion of their choice, which they propose and oppose in a formal debate.

The first round of the competition was the Local Heat held in Bristol in November. The Redland Green team then went on to win the District Final, held in Gloucester in February, and the Cluster Final in Cardiff in March, before travelling to Norwich for the National Final at the end of April.

The Redland Green team were: Year 12 students Will Smith, chairperson, Sophia Brunt, proposer, and Razia Scase, Opposer. Their motion was: “Lying is a necessary evil”.

Sophia argued that lying is something we all do from time to time in order to help social interactions run smoothly, and gave a number of touching and humorous examples of this. Razia argued that all forms of lying are inherently evil, and used examples as far apart as Father Christmas and the recent “Partygate” scandal to set out her passionately-argued opposition. The presentation was managed by Will, who ensured that the audience were left with an even-handed overview of both sides of the debate.

The judges praised the team’s persuasive arguments, their confident, engaging and authentic delivery, and their excellent teamwork.

Sophia said: “This competition has increased my confidence in public speaking, and improved my ability to communicate effectively. Above all, it has taught me the how to captivate an audience.” 

Razia added: “I’m very proud of our entire team. But we couldn’t have done any of it without our teacher, Miranda Pinder.” Will said: “It’s been amazing to work alongside (and against) really talented teenagers in Bristol, the South West and the whole of the UK.”

In addition to their overall win, Will won Best Chairperson at the Cluster Final, and Sophia won Best Proposer at the National Final.