Year 9 look part in the third of a series of debates running across the year and involving students of all ages.

The Year 9 debate, which coincided with Eco-Schools Week, asked whether HS2 was going to be an environmental disaster.

Seward (53 points) took first place, narrowly holding off another strong showing from Garrick (49 points). Each House won their respective head-to-head against Johnson (43 points) and Darwin (31 points).

There were many strong individual performances, but independent judges ultimately chose Will Whyte and Madeleine Walters as ‘Most Valuable Debaters.’ There was also an honourable mention for Ben Fairchild, who stepped in at the last minute to make a valuable contribution to his team’s performance.

Points were awarded for making valid points, demonstrating independent research, avoiding repetition, and making coherent rebuttals. Seward clinched their narrow victory based on points awarded for well-prepared opening and closing statements.

School librarian Mrs Cresswell chaired proceedings and was very impressed with the standard of debating on display.

Other students who took part in the debates included: Thomas Tovey, Khalil Alashi, Jack Wilson, Joe O’Hara, Millie Smith, Freddie Clarkson, Jacob Fox Bailey, Emily Rice, Finbar Birchall, Caitlyn Hems, Amelia Minihane, Tom Fairchild and Meg Mathias.

Mark Drury, Assistant Headteacher, said: “It was great to hear Year 9 grappling with an issue that is both global and local. HS2 passes nearby and its legacy both bad and good will last for generations.”

The baton now passes to Year 12, whose debate takes place next term.