Smart Ilford students selected for prestigious debating competition

Debating students at Seven Kings High School with teacher Matthew Hall

Debating students at Seven Kings High School with teacher Matthew Hall - Credit: Archant

Five bright Ilford students will be taking part in a prestigious debating competition at the US Embassy in London this afternoon.

Azwad Rahman, Katrina Colleemalay, William Mwaura, Preyaanathan Ragu and Hema Patel are the five A level students from Seven Kings High School, Ley St, Ilford selected to take part in the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship debate competition.

They will go head to head against students from nine other schools from London boroughs including Newham, Westminster and Wandsworth.

Teacher Matthew Hall said they were “very nervous.”

“I think it’s been quite a steep learning curve,” he added.


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The students have been studying for a Cambridge Pre- U qualification, which involves learning vital skills to prepare them for the leap from A levels to University.

There was some critical thinking and debating involved in this, so when the invitation to join the competition was sent out to the school Mr Hall thought it would be a great opportunity.

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“It will look absolutely fantastic on their CVs and Uni applications. It’s fantastic they are going and doing this at all,” he said.

They have been meeting every lunch time to prepare for the debate which includes issues such as Scottish Independence, online anonymity being prohibited and foreign aid.

The students will be divided into teams and will work with pupils from other schools they have never met before.

Mr Hall said: “That will be a bit of a challenge for them but once you have had a go at it then it massively builds your confidence.”

The competition will consist of a quarter- final, semi-final and a concluding debate which will all take place today, with the first prize being a place at the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute at Wake Forest University, North Carolina.

It is run by Benjamin Franklin House, which opened to the public for the first time on January 17 2006, Benjamin Franklin’s 300th birthday. It serves as a museum and educational facility on Craven Street, London.

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