Barking students win national debating contest

A Barking debating team beat rivals from more than 100 schools to win a national contest by making the case for diplomacy in the fight against terrorism.

The six students were crowned winners just months after joining their team at Eastbury Comprehensive in Hulse Avenue.

They defeated Bridge Academy in Hackney, who argued against negotiations with terrorists, in a hard-fought debate at the House of Lords.

Eastbury headteacher David Dickson said: “I am absolutely delighted with this well-deserved and ground-breaking victory.”

Eastbury School only joined the Debate Mate charity contest, with 115 secondary schools taking part, this academic year.

The Years 9 and 10 students won the Artemis Urban Debate League Final on June 14. Both sides in the final were randomly drawn.

Eastbury student Zeyana Yussuf, 14, said: “Being in the final was a really great, exciting experience and we really didn’t expect to win.

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“I was a disorganised speaker before joining the debate club and now I speak more confidently.”

Pupil Nuzhaat Ghani, 14, added: “I know how to use persuasive language, which ties in with my English lessons. It has also increased my spontaneous thinking.”