HAGLEY High School won its first Bromsgrove Schools Debating Competition tonight.
The team of Mikey Walsh, 17, and Henry Anderson, 16, edged out Lily Yeomans and Elliot Kirkpatrick, both 17, from South Bromsgrove High School in the closest ever final in the contest’s history.
The final motion saw the two teams debate the motion ‘This House believes in rent controls’ with Hagley proposing and South opposing.
The two teams, judged to be the most gifted debaters, had met in the first round, discussing whether social media should be banned for children up to the age of 15.
Hosts Waseley Hills High School had the difficult task of putting forward their opposition to the motion ‘This House believes we will see the end of newspapers soon’ to the audience and judges after North Bromsgrove was forced to pull out.
In the other first round tie Haybridge High proposed ‘This House would introduce a turnout percentage required to make election results valid’ with Bromsgrove School opposing.
Mikey and Henry will be known at Hagley as the team which won it its first Bromsgrove Schools Debating title.
Mikey said: “I really enjoyed it – we only found out we were on the team on Wednesday so have only had three days to prepare.
“I’ve taken part in eight competitions previously but this is the first one I’ve won.
“I definitely want to do even more in the future.”
Henry, who has previously won the Oxford Regional Debating Matters competition.
“Debating is a really good way to build your confidence and this was a really high standard of competition, everybody put their points across well.
“I did not think we would do as well as we did.”
Elliot said: “It was a good opportunity for me and Lily as we are both doing A-level politics.”
On Hagley he said: “They were fantastic – we lost to a really good team.”
Lily added: “I thought it was a great competition and if another opportunity came up to debate, I’d love to do it.”
MP Sajid Javid, who has held the competition every year since representing Bromsgrove, said: “We always get such a high quality of debating, it’s fantastic to see.
“It was the closest final as well – very tough for the judges.
“Hagley were worthy winners and South should be very proud as well.”
The contest was organised and chaired by Alex Boulter and the judging panel featured Mr Javid, Rev Ray Khan, the vicar of St John’s Church, Jo Slade, the vice chair of the Bromsgrove Society and Bromsgrove and Droitwich Standard editor Tristan Harris.