Friday, 11 April 2014

Northumberland Schools Parliamentary Debating Competition won by Ponteland High - by a whisker!

Winners Harriet Barrett and Matthew Ross with my fellow judges, Egger's Jackie Stephenson, European Election Candidate Ben Houchen and the famous Egger Trophy.
The debate Title was: "This House believes that the voting age should be reduced to 16"

Hexham, Haydon Bridge, Ponteland and Prudhoe all selected 2 students to represent them at the debate we held recently at Ponteland Community High School; this first ever Northumberland Schools Parliamentary Debating Award, was won by Harriet Barrett and Matthew Ross - having proposed the motion. I was on the judging panel of 4 - featuring Jackie Stephenson, HR Manager of Egger, and Ben Houchen, councillor and the Candidate for the European Parliament. The judging panel was completed by Dan Brown from my office, who did a lot of the legwork and organising .

Our thanks to the schools, our sponsors the Hexham chipboard Manufacturer Egger UK – which is Northumberland’s largest manufacturing employer, the supporters who came and the pupils themselves.
Genuinely on the night all 4 judges selected a different winner. After a long debate Ponteland won by the narrowest margin. They were aided by the best intervention of the night by Matthew, but it is fair to say that all 4 teams were outstanding.
I am hopeful that we will make this an annual event. I know the students had fun, and all the adults who came up afterwards were really impressed. Out of curiosity I took a ballot of the audience and the motion was marginally carried that indeed ...we should give 16 year olds the vote. A great evening.
For a fuller report see here: http://www.thejournal.co.uk/business/business-news/ponteland-community-high-school-pupils-6938225

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