Forest Gate school in national debate final

Godwin Junior School's debate team

Godwin Junior School's debate team - Credit: Sine Brown

Ask any child whether they want homework to be banned and chances are they’ll have an opinion on it.

But very few will be able to articulate their opinion as well as Godwin Junior School’s Year 6 debate team, who have been crowned the best in London.

The five-strong team came out on top after 16 weeks of competitions and will now head to Oxford University to compete in the national final next month.

The University of East London played host to the regional final, which saw 200 pupils from 17 schools argue motions including animal testing, banning toys and games about war and whether pupils should do two hours of sport a week.

The final was contested by Godwin and Ravenscroft Primary School, with nearly an hour’s discussion on banning homework.


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In the end, the Cranmer Road, Forest Gate, school was crowned the winner, with the judges impressed by their content, style and strategy.

As well as heading to Oxford, the tam have also secured a place in the Urban Debate League, which will be held at the Houses of Parliament at the end of this month.

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Deputy headteacher Sine Brown said: “I am really proud of the team at Godwin and hope they do really well in their upcoming competitions.

“The debating programme has been fantastic for improving our children’s ability and self esteem.

“It has given them the opportunity to explore ideas, develop confidence and articulate opinions.

“We have seen improvements in our pupils’ writing and listening skills and this is just one of the key ways we are adding value to our pupils’ learning.”

The competition was organised by Debate Mate, a programme which sends university students to schools to train pupils on how to debate.

Olivia Sundberg, primary school programme director, said: “It’s fun to see the children develop, and it can be a life-changing difference for them.”

Charlotte Thwaites, UEL’s primary school partnership officer, added: “It’s been good to work with Debate Mate as we’re both focused on working with young people who might be the first in their family to go to university. It really helps raise aspirations.”

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