Cherwell Democracy challenge

On Friday 20th November, The Cooper School debate team were invited by Cherwell District Council and Victoria Prentis MP., to take part in the first Cherwell Democracy Challenge, held in the Council Chamber at Bodicote House. The team included current Year 13 students, Joel Reynolds, Ben Stoddard, Chris Guttridge and Niall Murphy. Two Year 9 members of the school parliament also attended the event as observers. Eight schools from the local area competed in 20 minute debates, either ‘for’ or ‘against’ issues such as immigration, building upon Green-belt land and a variety of other topics. The Cooper School team successfully negotiated their way through the rounds, showing a lot of confidence and well-structured arguments with only limited preparation time for each topic. In the final debate the team met Tudor Hall School. After a very competitive and challenging debate, The Cooper School team were victorious and were awarded the trophy. The prize also included an invite to spend the day at the Houses of Parliament for a guided tour and the opportunity to watch debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

After winning the competitions, Joel Reynolds said, ‘We were overjoyed when we found out we had won, considering it was our first experience of a coordinated debating competition. The overall experience was great and it has greatly developed my debating skills. It is something which I will take forward with me to University and future career.’


Pictured are – Joel Reynolds, Ben Stoddard, Victoria Prentis MP, Chris Guttridge and Niall Murphy, all 17 years old.

Mr Gareth Allum, Head of Business Studies, Economics and Law, at The Cooper School said…..

“This type of opportunity offered by Cherwell District Council is the exact thing that our students have been crying out for; a great opportunity to develop key debating, presentation and teamwork skills that will help them later in life.

Our team and all of those that took part in the competition were extremely impressive and a real credit to their school. All of us at The Cooper School are very proud of our team’s performance and hope this will be the platform for greater student involvement in further debating and student voice initiatives. We also took two Year 9 members of our recently created School Parliament along as observers and they too already have the debating bug. We look forward to the next competition.”

Joel and Chris IMG_2518