The team from St Francis Xavier’s College, a state school in Liverpool, has been named the winner of the English-Speaking Union’s Schools’ Mace 2019. Patrick and James, pictured, beat over 270 other schools, including 11 other regional finalists, to first place. In the grand final, held at Dartmouth House on Monday, 25 March and watched by parents, friends and students from local London schools, St Francis Xavier’s was pitted against Gabriela and Yasmine from Sevenoaks School, arguing the motion: ‘This house would grant posthumous pardons to suffragettes’.
The Rt Hon. The Lord Blunkett, guest chair of the judges, said, ‘One of the key aspects of debating is to respect someone else’s point of view and I think these young people that took part in the final this afternoon did that very well and deserve every commendation. I’d like to encourage more people to take part in debating and the Schools’ Mace. Now more than ever, we need people who are able to listen to each other, who can put a coherent argument and who can understand and combat the other person’s point of view in a reasonable and sensible fashion.
‘All those working with the young people at St Francis Xavier deserve enormous credit but particular commendation to James and Patrick, the national winners!’
The English-Speaking Union’s Schools’ Mace is the oldest and largest debating competition for schools in England. It began in 1957 as The Observer Schools’ Mace and was taken over by the English-Speaking Union in 1995. Past winners include Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy and broadcaster and author Edward Stourton.