County-wide Parliamentary Debating Competition for schools launched by Beds PCC

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A debating competition open to all schools in the county has been launched by the Police and Crime Commissioner, with the winning school receiving a £500 donation.

The annual schools’ competition is aimed at all children aged between 15-18 and schools across Bedfordshire have been contacted to take part in the event.

Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Festus Akinbusoye, said: “I am delighted that we are proceeding with this event for pupils and we very much welcome all schools to participate.

“The debates provide a good opportunity for young people to develop their confidence, public speaking skills and also broaden their knowledge of social issues.

“It’s going to be a fun experience for all involved.”

The competition is non-party political and, as in all good debates, the pupils will be required to illustrate views they do not necessarily hold.

Marks will be awarded for debating skills, debating style and substance of the argument.

Co-managing editor of the Bedford Independent, Erica Roffe, will be on the judging panel, alongside BBC Three Counties Radio’s Roberto Perrone, vice-chair of Cranfield University, Professor Karen Holford and Cllr Randolph Charles.

Erica said: “Being able to articulate your point of view clearly and concisely is an important life skill and I’m looking forward to hearing some well-constructed arguments on some thorny topics.

The finalists will receive certificates, with the winning school receiving a £500 donation and the speakers each receiving a £50 Amazon voucher.

The first round of the competition will take place at Bedford Academy on Monday 8 November, with the semi-finals taking place in Luton on 17 November.

The grand final will be held at Bedford Magistrates Court on Tuesday 30 November, when the inaugural debating champions will be crowned.

The closing date for applications for the debate is 18 October 2021. If any schools would like to get in touch please email PCC@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk.

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