On Monday 18th March, eight Year 12 Hanley students travelled to Warwick Court House to compete in a regional forum debate, organised by the European Youth Parliament.
The day consisted of six debates, each of which was based upon a current topic of European interest. To take part in these debates, we had to stand as representatives of a parliamentary committee, ours being the Committee on Culture and Education.
The topic of our debate concerned the restitution of looted artefacts to their countries of origin. Should European countries actively be seeking to return artefacts to the cultures from which they were taken? We came up with a proposal in answer to this question, which was then debated, primarily with the opposition, and then with all the other committees in a round of open debate. In another round, we stood in opposition to another committee’s proposal regarding the fight against antisemitism.
At the end of each 45-minute debate, all competing schools voted in favour of, or against, the proposed motions. The overall aim, however, was not solely to win this vote; the jury were also looking for evidence of teamwork, full participation, adaptability, respectful attitudes, comprehensive research, and effective communication skills.
Once all six debates had concluded, the judges sat to deliberate their decisions regarding the overall result of the competition. They then gave feedback, and finally announced which two teams would be moving forwards to compete at a national level in Liverpool, in June 2019. We were delighted to hear that Hanley had indeed been successful in securing a place at nationals – a lovely end to a demanding but rewarding day. Our thanks go to Miss Jonsberg, for her support and advice, and for accompanying us to Warwick.