The Lord Speaker, Baroness D'Souza, chaired the Debate Mate 'Artemis Urban Debate League Final' on Wednesday 22 May in the House of Lords.
The debate was the culmination of a six-month pilot partnership between the House of Lords and Debate Mate, a social enterprise and educational charity. Debate Mate’s programme looks to boost young people's confidence in expressing themselves and members of the Lords have been involved in the pilot to help them to understand more about the political process and debating in the House of Lords.
The Urban League Debating Final
Debate Mate’s Urban League Debating Final was the climax of a 16-week programme for secondary school children which took place between November 2012 and April 2013. Students aged 12-15 from 140 schools competed for a place in the final debate in the Lords, which involved teams from two schools and a total of eight speakers. The two teams debated the motion, 'This House would grant immunity to dictators in exchange for leaving power.' The two schools taking part were:
- Central Foundation Boy’s School from the London borough of Islington, it was their third year on the programme. They were mentored by Tiphaine and Ben, who are studying at University College London and Oxford University respectively. They debated for the motion.
- The Bridge Academy from the London borough of Hackney, it was their second year on the programme. They were mentored by Scott, a law student at Oxford University who is also the coach of the UAE World Schools debating team. They debated against the motion.
There were four speakers on both the proposition and opposition teams, who alternated giving five minute speeches. The debate was then opened up to the floor for questions to be addressed during the summing up speeches. The sides were randomly drawn so the pupils do not decide which side of the motion they were supporting.
The winners of the debate were The Bridge Academy.
The Lord Speaker announced the opening and closing speakers in the final and gave a short congratulatory speech following the debate.
About Debate Mate
Debate Mate runs after school debating clubs in areas of high child poverty with students from the top universities as mentors. They use debating to develop communication, interpersonal skills and to build self-esteem. Over 2000 young people take part in Debate Mate programmes around the UK every week.
Artemis Investment Management sponsors the Urban Debate League and supports London schools through school debate clubs.
Image: House of Lords 2013/Annabel Moeller - Debate Mate 2013 event