Ark Helenswood take the trophy in Ark Senior Great Debate Championship

15 of Ark’s secondary schools have battled it out for victory in the Ark Senior Great Debate Championships, with rousing rhetoric from Ark Helenswood Academy winning the trophy for the school and Isaac Newton Academy coming a close second.

The event was held at Dartmouth House in collaboration with the English Speaking Union, with students discussing diverse issues such as whether schools should expel bullies and whether the media should report on the private lives of public figures.

Ark Helenswood debater Abbie Bowers said: “It feels really great to have won the competition, to have that validation about our abilities and to have come back to Hastings with the trophy, but it was also fantastic to meet other students in the Ark network. It really showed that we’re part of a community.”

The team was coached by Ark Helenswood Academy English teacher Sam James, who said: “It was wonderful to work with such a dedicated, hardworking debating team and to see them perform so brilliantly on the day.

“As a teacher, it’s a real privilege to be able to run the debating club each Friday and help develop students’ talents for public speaking and debating social issues. Through the club, students have learned teamwork and presentation skills, all of which will be invaluable at university or in their professional lives.”

Lucrezia MacDonald, who also represented Ark Helenswood, said: “Ms James has been really great at coaching us for our debating competitions and giving us helpful feedback. We couldn’t have done it without her.”