Academy debate team in UK’s top 10

Pupils from The Academy of St Francis of Assisi (ASFA) in Kensington were celebrating after reaching the finals of a national debate competition.

After being crowned regional Debate Mate champions and taking home the Urban Debate Mate Cup in March, the Academy’s debate team went onto compete in the national finals in Westminster.

The six pupil strong team made up of Fiorella Gallardo, Christopher Sampson, Emily Hollinshead, Chianna Tasker, Natalie Nyamadzi and JC Somerset tackled challenging subject matters to place eighth out of the 250 schools taking part.

On the run up to the event the team trained for 17 weeks as part of Debate Mate’s after school programme and faced numerous heats held in schools across the city before out-scoring the competition to be awarded the regional prize.

Judges at the event were overwhelmed by the quality of the speeches and the maturity with which the team tackled issues such as Brexit, voting age and the use of photoshop in advertising.

Teacher Miss Hussain, said: “The ASFA team showed passion, dedication, determination and resilience throughout the competition and we couldn’t be prouder of them.

“To win the regional championships was incredible but to go on to be named eighth place overall nationally is an outstanding achievement. The standards have been set high for next year’s team but I’m sure that the regional champions will have lots of advice!”

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