St Joseph’s primary stars win Elizabethan Academy debating competition

Pupils from eight Bassetlaw primary schools faced off in the inaugural Elizabethan Academy debating competition.
Pupils from eight Bassetlaw primary schools faced off in the inaugural Elizabethan Academy debating competition.

Pupils from a Retford primary school talked their way to victory by extolling the virtues of the countryside in a new debating competion for Bassetlaw schools.

Anashe Rugoyi and Joshua Oprych from St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, on Babworth Road, were crowned winners of the inaugural Elizabethan Academy debating competition earlier this month.

Elizabethan Academy principal Christine Horrocks presented the trophy to Anashe Rugoyi and Joshua Oprych of St Joseph's Primary.

Elizabethan Academy principal Christine Horrocks presented the trophy to Anashe Rugoyi and Joshua Oprych of St Joseph's Primary.

They narrowly defeated a team from Harworth Church of England Academy in a final which asked them to debate town versus countryside.

Elizabethan principal Christine Horrocks was delighted with the way the young debaters had embraced the event.

She said: “All of those chosen to represent their schools should be very proud of themselves.”

Anashe and Joshua Oprych spoke in favour of the countryside, citing the health benefits as opposed to living in pollution-ridden cities.

Ava Wilson and Isaac Moulds of Harworth countered that by arguing for the better employment, education and entertainment opportunities associated with life in a city.

A total of eight teams took part in the competition, with each school nominating two year five students to represent them.

Two prepared debates in the morning, on the topics of junk food, and books versus films, were followed by a series of workshops to allow pupils to hone their debating skills.

A third, unprepared debate, on the thorny issue of pocket money in return for domestic chores, required the young debaters really to think on their feet and put their new skills into practice.

The competition was organised by the Elizabethan following its success in the nationwide Up For Debate competition last year.

The academy won the regional heats and represented the East Midlands at the national finals held at the prestigious Harrow School in London.

Christine said: “Our success in the national competition has really motivated our students to take part in events such as these, and we are delighted to share our passion for debating with primary pupils.”