Pupils win the debate on Europe

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Ten school teams of pupils from years 5 and 6 in primary and middle schools in Bedford took part in the inaugural debates of The Bedford Junior Debate Academy.

Despite strong spirited and imaginative opposition from Cauldwell Primary School, the team from Livingstone Primary succeeded in persuading the audience that Britain should remain a full member of the European Union.

Other topics debated included proposals that we should end financial inequality by encouraging the rich to share their wealth with the poor (won), that there should be greater restrictions on the use of social media for children under 16 (lost), and that the voting age should be lowered to 12 years of age (won). A further motion that teachers should be replaced by computers was opposed vigorously by the team from Putnoe Primary School, as a result of which the motion was lost - to the great relief of the teachers present!

The chairman’s awards for the best proposition team went to Queens Park Academy, and for the best opposition team to Cauldwell Primary.

The organiser of the event, Dr Tony Wood of the English-Speaking Union, praised the young debaters.

He said: “This is the first time a formal inter-school debating competition for children this young has been held in Bedfordshire. They were magnificent.”