We had a busy and successful trip to Oxford this weekend with Ramsey and Jasmin, who were competing in the Finals Day of the Oxford Schools’ Debating Competition.

Oxford Schools’ is the biggest debating competition in UK, and the largest school-level championship in the world to use the British Parliamentary format.

Our students took part in four challenging debates. For starters, they successfully opposed ‘tiger parenting’ by making a passionate case against the commodification of children and in favour of a liberal parenting strategy.  They then had to propose the use of child labour, before advocating for private health care to be banned in the third round debate.  Political dynasties were the topic of the fourth round, with Ramsey and Jasmin arguing against a motion for members of such elites to be banned from seeking elected office.  The debates were intellectually stimulating, and our students picked up lots of tips from Oxford’s top debaters. There was also an opportunity to explore the historic Oxford Union, which is the world’s most famous debating society.

Despite not ‘breaking’ into the semi-finals, both Ramsey and Jasmin were ranked within the top 150 speakers in the competition (with Jasmin the 16th highest placed novice speaker). This is most impressive given the scale of the tournament: around 1,000 students and 350 schools enter Oxford Schools’ each year, and its Finals Day is one of the toughest events in the debating calendar.  

Jasmin and Ramsey worked really hard, with great energy across a gruelling day, and were excellent ambassadors for Ampleforth.