ofsted - Brine Leas 6th form building, 2015 performance tables

Bright sparks from Brine Leas School in Nantwich have talked their way to success – in one of the UK’s toughest debating competitions.

Four teams of students from Cheshire schools competed at Loreto College for a place in the regional final.

Brine Leas were up against Loreto College, St Bede’s College and Congleton High School.

And after an evening of hard-fought debate, Brine Leas School won it with their debate on compulsory childhood vaccinations.

The schools on the day discussed diverse issues such as gentrification and restrictions on religious freedom.

The competition, run by Institute of Ideas, is sponsored by BAE systems in the North West and North Wales region and nationally by primary funder the Wellcome Trust.

It is regarded as the toughest debating competition in the UK, with teams having to prove they could answer the tough questions to claim the top prize.

A brilliant speech alone will not suffice in a contest which tests students’ knowledge as well as their public speaking skills.

Adam Rawcliffe, of the Institute of Ideas, said: “All schools enjoyed making contributions to the debates from the floor as well as speaking on the panels.

“Bella Statham, Congleton High School, particularly impressed the judges with her sharp contributions from the floor and was named Best Individual.”

During the debates students were grilled by a group of expert judges and professionals from across the North West.

Judges included Amanda Hancox, series producer at BBC; Dr Ken McLaughlin, senior lecturer in social work, Manchester Metropolitan University; Ian Betts, head of English, Cowley International College; Dr Gary Kerr, researcher in science communication, University of Salford; Simon Belt, IT consultant, Simply Better IT.

The teenagers debated contemporary political, scientific and cultural controversies.

Adam added: “Everyone agreed all students engaged in a friendly yet fiery manner, and all the judges were impressed by the contribution the students made to these key issues.”

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