top of page

Local Students Shine in Rotary Debating Competition

By John Chamberlain - Sutton Nonsuch Rotary Club

Twenty-one students from four local schools took part in our Youth Speaks: A Debate Competition on Thursday evening. Many adults run shy of public speaking, so to see and hear year nine students speaking with such confidence and assurance was wonderful.


This local heat of the national competition was once again organised jointly by the Rotary Clubs of Banstead, Epsom and Sutton Nonsuch. Teams from The Beacon School, St Philomena’s and Wilsons School took part in the Intermediate section (11 – 13 years old) with teams from Blenheim High School and Wilsons in the Senior (14 to 17) section. Each team consists of a Chairperson, a Proposer and an Opposer.


The team from The Beacon School got the Intermediate competition underway debating that ‘footballers’ income should be taxed at a higher rate’. St Philomena’s discussed whether ‘social media makes us less social’, an important topic that affects many of us today. The team from Wilsons gave us a lively discussion on ‘climate change being the most pressing issue facing us’. In her summary, chair of judges Ros Rokison said that the team were outstanding and they were adjudged the winners of the Intermediate competition.


In the senior section both teams provided the large audience, which included the Mayor, with lively debates. The proposal that ‘the extra-curriculum is more important than the standard curriculum’ was debated by an excellent team from Blenheim High School. The proposer of this motion was particularly persuasive. Then the proposal ‘this house believes extremism is inevitable’ was debated by a team from Wilsons. Although they exceeded the time limit of fifteen minutes, all three students were outstanding for content and delivery and they won the senior competition. 


The three Rotary clubs thank our excellent judges Ros Rokison and Ken Rokison. Ros gave each of the twenty-one students useful constructive feedback. We also wish to thank Blenheim High School for hosting the competition. But most of all we congratulate each of the twenty-one students who had the courage to stand up and speak to a large audience. Public speaking is a hard skill to master, but such a useful skill to acquire and Rotary is proud to have given these young people this opportunity.

From The Beacon School Newsletter 19 Jan 24 (by Mrs T Pydiah)

Last Thursday evening, six of our Year 8

students participated in the Youth Speaks

debating competition at Blenheim High

School, led by Banstead Rotary Club.

The students did phenomenally, competing

against Wilson's School, St Philomena's

Catholic School and Blenheim High School.

Our teams debated the motions, "Homework

should be abolished" and "Footballers'

income should be taxed at a higher rate".

At the end of a long evening, each participant

was given invaluable feedback by the judges

and was presented a certificate by the Mayor

of Epsom and Ewell, Councillor Rob Geleit.

Whilst our teams did not win on this

occasion, we are very proud of their ambition

and endeavours!  A huge congratulations to

Riley G, Niamh B, Anthony S, Tyler M, Georgi

M and Oliver W.



bottom of page