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For the last 8 years, Robert Clack’s Debate Societies Junior Squad has been working in conjunction with the organisation Debate Mate. “Debate Mate is a unique, international educational charity dedicated to improving social mobility using cost-effective peer-to-peer debate mentoring’ The Debate Mate programme provides our school with university students who train our students in Years 7-10 how to debate. This year Robert Clack is lucky enough to have Jasmin Bath, a former student, as our mentor. Along with the skills provided by Debate Mate each year they run two national competitions, the Urban Debate League and the Debate Mate Cup.
Throughout our partnership with Debate Mate, Robert Clack has been involved in a number of show debates for organisations such as Sky News and the Premier League. In addition the Junior Debate Squad debated for the Attorney General at 11 Downing Street. It was through this outreach programme that Robert Clack won a televised debate about the reformation of the House of Lords.
Since the launch of the Debate Mate charity, Robert Clack has been and continues to be one of most successful state schools in the Britain for Debate, we are currently Debate Mate National Champions and most recently represented the United Kingdom in the PDA World Schools Congress Debate Competition in Japan.
When our students graduate from the Debate Mate programme and move over to Upper School, our students continue with debate as members of the Robert Clack’s Senior Debate Squad.
Students continue to represent the school through University run competitions such as, Oxford Schools and Cambridge Schools, where we reach the finals day of both competitions in 2015. Alongside the British Parliamentary debate competitions, the Senior Squad also take part in Model United Nations conferences, Mock Trials, the ESU Public Speaking competition and are once again, regional finalists in this years ESU Schools Mace competition.
Although for both the Junior and Senior Debate Squads, debating is an extra-curricular, the clubs run after school on a Wednesday (Junior Squad) and a Thursday (Senior Squad), Robert Clack is unique in the sense that Debate is also taught as part of our curriculum. This is through the Skills for Life programme at lower school and our 6th Form cohort benefits from having Debate included during the Block 5 Core lessons. Debate being both a curricular and extra-curricular activity has proven to be of huge benefit for our students, not only does it allow for our squad members to improve their confidence but it has also been proven that debate supports literacy and oracy progression. Debate is particullary useful in supporting ours in English, Religious Education and History.