There was a real buzz at Dartmouth House as teams from the 12 regional final-winning schools assembled on Monday, 28 March to fight for a place in the grand final of the Schools’ Mace 2022 in the afternoon. Motions comprising ‘This House would build homes on the green belt’, ‘This House would privatise the BBC’ and ‘This House would make membership of trade unions compulsory’ set a lively tone for the afternoon’s debate: ‘This House Believes that sports governing bodies should require clubs to be majority owned by their fans’. This topical subject was ably argued by the teams from Manchester Grammar School and first-year debaters Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls, who were, after much deliberation, judged the winners. In winning, Anna, Isabelle and Elo (pictured above with their fellow squad members Holly and Ellen) beat over 280 other schools from across the country. Our congratulations to them both, and to all students who took part, and our thanks to their teachers and tutors who supported them.
‘For most of us, this is our first in-person debate,’ said Anna. ‘And it’s a completely different experience. I think I speak for all of us when I say it brought out a completely different side of us – in a good way! We’ve had to devote a lot of time to the competition but it’s been so worth it – it’s just been such a cool opportunity.’
Sebastian Isaac QC, guest chair of the judges, said, ‘I thought the two teams today were absolutely fantastic. I was really impressed and I was so happy that these young people have come out of what has obviously been an incredibly hard two years, often not being in school, and that they’re debating at a better standard than I’ve ever seen. Congratulations to all of them for now, for their future debating and for what will clearly be incredibly successful lives and careers.’