A York schoolgirl won Best Speaker award in a hotly contested national debating competition yesterday.
Alice Grierson at The Mount School was chosen by judges as the Best Individual Speaker in the Debating Matters national finals in London, beating over 70 candidates for the top individual title.
Judges selected Alice for her consistency in putting forward ‘debate changing questions from the floor’.
Alice said ‘I was just really happy, really pleased to have won. The debates were all good, interesting topics, and what made the competition such fun is the way it was organised. There was an inspiration lecture, and on the first evening we all watched mock debates. It really was a very well organised event. We got on very well with the girls from Withington Girls’ School, who went on to win the event overall.’
Holly Gardiner, who from September will become the Quaker girls’ school’s new Head Girl, was given a special mention for her ‘extremely persuasive exposition on neuro-science and humanity’.
Teacher Josephine Soden, who accompanied the girls to London, said ‘Having not progressed to the semi-finals, I was really proud of the way the girls returned on the second day prepared to genuinely engage with the debates, even though they were not on the panels. The entire team from The Mount, which also included Elspeth Foster Lil and Victoria Ellis, put up a really brave fight in their own debates, which I felt were equally balanced and it was difficult to predict which team the judges would pick.’
Only 12 schools participated in the national finals of Debating Matters, which took place at University College London and the Royal Society of Medicine from 28 – 30 June. Over 120 schools had taken part in the preliminary and regional competitions. The competition is organised by the Institute of Ideas.