STUDENTS have agreed to disagree as a new debating society gathers pace at a North Yorkshire school.
The Wensleydale School & Sixth Form club has grown in strength, vim and vigour since three of its students headed-off to Eton for the debate of their lives.
Sam Maunder, Rosalind Monaghan and Imogen Hayden clinched a place in the final of the prestigious PixL ‘Up for Debate’ competition.
Their success has seen the school debating society swell its ranks and tackle an array of topics from fox hunting to the ethics of zoos.
Society member Abby Spenceley, 14, of Leyburn, said: “I think it helps make the school more tolerant because we learn to agree to disagree.”
Emma Haresign, 12, of Hunton, added: “It helps you develop skills that are useful in lessons, such as being able to see both sides of an argument.”
Daniel Harwood, 14, of Spennithorne, said: “Having three of our students do so well and now among the top five in the country really does inspire us. It also makes you feel more confident and it is good to have opinions you feel passionately about.”
The PixL ‘Up for Debate’ competition sees students tackle some of the best young debating minds in the country, in Jafar Hall, the spectacular new purpose-built debating chamber at Eton College.
Before then they receive intense training from the UK’s top debating coaches at a masterclass in London, where they learn to deepen their analysis, sharpen their argumentative attacks and maximise their persuasive impact on the audience.
Teacher Charles Barnett, who runs the debating club, said he was delighted the students’ success had sparked so much interest among classmates.
“The quality of the debate is already excellent and growing by the session,” he said. “Students can also see what can be achieved with a good, strong persuasive argument.”