Debating trio through to nationals

The Ribblesdale debating team.
The Ribblesdale debating team.
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A trio of Year Nine pupils from Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe took part in a regional debate competition at Blessed Thomas Holford Catholic College, Altrincham.

Lili Barnes, Alice Woodward and Miriam Froud competed against 26 other schools for a position in the nationals, which will be held in London later this year.

Before the big day, the girls had to prepare for two motions.

"‘This House would tax junk food" (arguing for the proposition) and "this House believes culturally significant treasures should be returned to their country of origin" (arguing for the opposition).

Having won both rounds, they went head-to-head against another winning school (Dixons Trinity) for the impromptu debate - "this House would require that 50% of MPs are women by 2028’ (arguing for the proposition).

The results of this round were not revealed immediately. Instead, all participating schools came together in the hall to receive the results of the top five performing schools. Here, they would discover who would battle it out, in front of all schools and staff, to win the regional title but also a place in the national competition.

The girls were thrilled to see their school name displayed as one of the top two schools.

They were swiftly taken away to prepare for their final debate - "this house would ban alcohol" (arguing for the proposition).

Both schools were incredible, demonstrating passion, incorporating convincing content and using ambitious vocabulary.

It seemed that no matter how many times the girls won, they would still be as sincere, genuine and overjoyed as the first time. They truly appreciated the talent the other schools had to offer. And, winning the final was no different.

Many pupils, judges and teachers commented on the "serious talent" the girls have to offer and everyone is already looking forward to preparing for the nationals in London.