Students tackle topic of free higher education at final of debate tournament

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Redbridge Council

Redbridge Town Hall. Picture: Redbridge Council - Credit: Archant

Young people demonstrated their public speaking skills at the culmination of a debate tournament last night.

Pupils from King Solomon High School and Forest Academy took to Redbridge Town Hall for the final of the Redbridge Young People’s Debate.

The tournament, which saw eight schools compete in rounds, was the brainchild of Zara Zaman, one of the borough’s two members of the Youth Parliament.

She chaired the final, which saw the young people tackle the topic of free higher education, with Forest Academy pupils debating for the idea and King Solomon pupils against.

Among the arguments expressed were that fees give people more of an incentive to work hard and vocational training is a good alternative.

Forest Academy’s team argued that fees stop there being opportunities for all and students are left with large loans.

After the final speakers had made their cases, the scores were given.

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The judges were Recorder editor Chris Carter, Cllr Elaine Norman, cabinet member for children and young people, and Pat Reynolds, Redbridge Council’s director of children’s services.

It was a close call, but King Solomon came out on top with 236 points, while Forest Academy took away 228.

After handing out the medals and trophy, the judges made their final comments.

Mr Carter said the students had displayed a great deal of “passion,” while Cllr Norman said she expected to see some of the students return to the town hall, in High Road, Ilford, as councillors in the future.

She joked: “I won’t say any names, but some of you reminded me of current politicians in this chamber.”

See more on the debate in next week’s Recorder.

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