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Claremont High School Academy

Making history

Mr West and the Senior Debate Club prove victorious

 On the evening of Thursday 9th November, Mr West was joined in T17 by three Year 13 students - Shannon Craig, Janvi Solanki and Carlos Welford – who together comprise the Senior Debate Club. They were there to take part in the oldest and most prestigious schools debate competition in the UK: the English-Speaking Union Schools’ Mace.

The first round took place online, which, observes Mr West, is ‘a tough way to debate someone’. The competitors were of an extremely high standard and included Harrow School, John Lyon's, Queen Elizabeth’s, Kingsbury High and Mill Hill International. To add to this, the Senior Debate Club were debating the motion, ‘We should not treat esports/gaming as a “real” sport’. Mr West highlights the challenge: ‘Considering the International Olympic Committee already regard gaming as a sport, this was a difficult one to argue.’ 

Claremont were up against Queen Elizabeth’s, a grammar school for boys based in Barnet and a well-regarded opponent. Despite this, the Senior Debate Club were victorious, winning the first round! Alongside Queen Elizabeth’s, Claremont will now progress to the next round - the second of four in this national competition.

According to Mr West, highlights of the debate included, ‘Shannon's excellent improvised response to a Point of Information, Janvi's immersive and alliterative imagery and Carlos' confident and engaging use of flashcards - they were practically props!’

The three students were clearly very happy too. 

‘Any initial anxiety I had was soon replaced by feelings of joy and excitement, which winning only amplified,’ says Shannon. 

Janvi admits they felt a little nervous facing such experienced competitors, but this only made the eventual victory more rewarding. ‘Winning definitely felt a bit surreal. Even though I knew we had worked hard and were strong debaters, it was still really intimidating going against more experienced schools. I felt it was a little unrealistic to expect us to win. When they announced the result, it was just immediate shock and happiness! It has made me really motivated to win the entire competition.’ 

And Carlos was pleased to be part of another memorable event for Claremont High School: ‘I am delighted and honoured to make history with the school.’ 

Mr West felt that their weekly practices had definitely been worthwhile, describing himself as a ‘Proud Debate Coach’. Claremont’s Senior Debate Club have proved themselves capable of facing some of this country’s most prestigious schools and beating them too. They’re now preparing for the next round, planning for another victory… Who can argue with that?