Youth Parliament showcases local talent – no debate

SARA SAYMA, of Croydon’s UK Youth Parliament, reports on the organisation’s latest event

Croydon High’s debating duo with their trophy

Croydon High won the first UK Youth Parliament inter-school debate competition, which was staged to help show that young people have well-thought out opinions that deserve to be heard.

The event was organised by members of Youth Parliament and Youth Council, with the first debate on the topic of “Votes at 16“, with Old Palace on the proposition and Archbishop Tenison’s on the opposition.

Votes at 16 is a campaign that Youth Parliament supports and it is included in its manifesto. The Youth Parliament believes that people aged between 16 and 17 are able to make complex decisions and have wide ranging views, most are knowledgeable about the world they live in and would be an asset to the democratic process.

Disaster almost seemed to strike the event as one school did not turn up for the debate of “Mixed Schools are better than Single Sex Schools” against Croydon High. However, Gavin Barwell and Sara Bashford, a local MP and his parliamentary assistant, attending the event as judges, stepped in to speak in favour of the proposition. What was initially perceived as a mishap became a golden opportunity, as the schools were able to debate with a couple of local politicians.

Members of Croydon UKYP were so inspired by this that they are thinking of creating another event where young people debate against decision-makers, so they can put their views about their local area directly to the people who run it.

Croydon High and Archbishop Tenison’s took on the motion “Multiculturalism has failed” for the final. It was Croydon High that had the well-deserved win.

All the schools that took part are testimony to the talent in Croydon. Croydon UKYP hopes that young people’s capacities to make a change and have a positive impact on society will no longer be underestimated.

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