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University Academic Judges School Debate

On 1st December Dr Trevor Stammers, Programme Director at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, sat on the panel of the annual Debating Matters competition

On Monday 1st December Dr Trevor Stammers, Programme Director of the MA Bioethics and Medical Law programme at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, sat on the judging panel of the annual Debating Matters competition, held at Richmond upon Thames College, Twickenham. The competition, which was run by the Institute of Ideas, saw sixth form students across the UK engage in intellectual debates about modern topics, while being challenged by a panel of judges and the audience. Dr Stammers judged two of the three debating rounds as students from Richmond upon Thames College, Esher College, Southborough High School and St John’s School competed against one another. The winning school was St John’s, and it will now represent Merton in the London South regional final early next year. The subjects that students debated included: whether artistic expression should ever be censored, if unhealthy lifestyles are the business of government, and whether we should sacrifice our privacy in the interest of national and international security. Dr Stammers and the rest of the panel judged the students’ ability to research different topics and assessed their responses when their theories were put to the test. Dr Stammers said, “It was an exciting privilege to be on the judging panel. Richmond College won the first round against Esher College for their support of the motion that ‘Artistic expression should never be censored’. “The second debate was won by St John's School for opposing the motion proposed by Southborough High School that ‘Unhealthy lifestyles are not the business of government’.  They then took on Richmond College in debating the final motion on whether we should be willing to compromise our privacy in the interests of national and international security. Both teams put up a good case but Richmond was up against a team that was like a laser beam in terms of its members’ focus and synergy. “It was a brilliant debate and I look forward to being on the panel for the qualifying round in Greenwich in a few weeks’ time."

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