50 students – one from every tutor group – spent Thursday 12 June working with eight volunteers from British Land to develop debating skills before presenting their debates to an invited audience including the Deputy Mayor of Camden, Cllr Nadia Shah.
The collaboration was part of British Land’s Community Day, when volunteers from British Land spent the day volunteering on a range of projects. British Land has been a long-time supporter of Regent High School, and this Community Day project provided an opportunity to work with the business in a different way.
The debating day with Regent High School built on the school’s focus last half term on the skills used by politicians in the run-up to the General Election. This is part of a broader project to develop students’ literacy skills. British Land’s Community Day debating project aimed to develop students’ understanding and application of debating styles and techniques, their ability to develop reasoned and researched arguments, and their skills in delivering a convincing debate. The volunteers from British Land spent the day sharing their public speaking and debating skills to prepare students to deliver their debates in front of an audience, including the Deputy Mayor of Camden.
Two debate topics were prepared by students: whether the voting age should be lowered to 16, and whether access to social media site Facebook should be illegal for those aged under 13. At the start of the day students were introduced to the style of debate witnessed in the House of Commons, and a Year 10 student then took to the Speaker’s Chair to ensure order during the debates.
Lead volunteer Rebecca Burns commented that ‘The team at British Land are delighted to be working with the students of Regent High School on an exciting and current topic to help them develop their debating skills’.
Headteacher Rosemary Leeke said ‘Congratulations to everyone who took part in this extremely beneficial project. Ably supported by the British Land volunteers, students from Years 7 to 10 collaborated throughout the day to develop their ideas about the two topics before presenting their thoughtful and well-reasoned arguments in the ‘Chamber’ at the end of the day. The ability to present ideas coherently and effectively is one which is in ever greater demand by universities and employers, and the day provided a fantastic opportunity for students to enhance these skills. Particularly impressive was their ability to listen and respond to the points made by their opponents – a skill not always evidenced by professional politicians!
‘We have worked with British Land for many years, and are extremely grateful for their continued support and the opportunity to work with their volunteers on this project.’