Aimhigher London Oracy Project for 2018/19 ‘Debate Higher’ worked with 50 Key Stage 3 learners from five of our partner schools over the past year including three schools from our NCOP areas, Springwest Academy, Rivers Academy West London, Carshalton Boys Sports College, Southborough High School and UAE Southbank. This is a project that has raised the profile of oracy skills for young learners within each school with the support of our HEI partners. They have been introduced to what is debating and public speaking by Kingston University, explored how to form persuasive arguments through the Law Department of University of Roehampton, grappled with moral and ethical judgements around medical advancement with the Royal Veterinary College, honed their presentation and networking skills with St Mary’s University and investigated the power of media and identified ‘fake news’ with Goldsmiths, University of London.
All of this culminated in the final ‘Great Debate’ in the Houses of Parliament on 4th July hosted by Seema Malhotra MP and led by SOAS University of London with a judging panel that included University of Cambridge academic and oracy champion Dr Peter Dudley. They tackled a challenging and topical theme for the debate set by AHL in consultation with SOAS based around current British curriculums and whether they were truly reflective of today’s Britain or not. All schools deliberated and debated exceptionally well and the judges were particularly impressed at the quality of debate on a theme that can be complex even at an undergraduate level. There has to be a winner and the motion for changing the curriculum was won on the day by UAE Southbank.