England are good at something - our teens just became World Debate Champions!


England are world champions after a team of five teenagers won the World Schools Debate Championships on Thursday, beating more than 50 other national teams to take the trophy.

The teenagers travelled to Stuttgart, Germany, for the two-week tournament, following nine months of intense debate preparation and practice - the team even beat world class adult debaters at a university competition earlier this year.

Team captain Kenza struggled to comprehend their incredible win.

He said: "I don't think it's sunk in yet - thank you so much to the coaches and my mum!"

The team were selected and trained by the English-Speaking Union, and are some of the best schools debaters in the country.

The team was made up of students Edward Bracey, Eton College, Ife Grillo, Bridge Academy, Kenza Wilks, Dulwich College, Rosa Thomas, Alleyn's, and Archie Hall, Westminster.

Ife Grillo, the only member of the team to attend a state school, couldn't contain his emotion on winning.

Ife attends Bridge Academy in Hackney, where 58% of pupils are eligible for free school meals.

He first heard about the prestigious competition whilst attending the ESU's debate academy, a summer course which coaches teenagers in debating, which inspired him to trial for a spot on the team.

The five members of Team England.

After battling through 12 debate rounds to reach the final, Team England beat runner-up Team Canada proposing the motion: "This House believes that states should be allowed to pay other states to relocate and settle refugees."

Through the competition they debated motions on education, terrorism, crime, culture and philosophy.

It wasn't all tough debating though. Rosa said: "Obviously at times competing can be stressful but we were really good at finding time to do fun things to relax like rapping along to Hamilton and using our old notes for paper snowball fights."

Team manager Anna England-Kerr said: "I am so proud of the team's performances in the debates. Some of their speeches quite literally gave me goosebumps and I've been around debating for a while.

"I am very lucky to be working for an organisation that helps support young debaters to aim high and truly reach their full potential."

One of the team's coaches, Lewis Iwu, said: "We're delighted that we won. The team has worked incredibly well over the past year and we're grateful for all the support we received from the team's parents, friends and the English-Speaking Union."

Leela Koenig, Head of Oracy at the ESU said: "The ESU is involved in promoting schools debating across all sectors and at all levels, from beginners in primary school who are just discovering debating to managing the England team."

Team England with manager Anna England-Kerr and coaches Lewis Iwu and  Andrew Fitch.

"Winning this championship is the highest achievement in schools debating and we couldn't be prouder. Our team of five have shown that hard work, a fantastic team spirit and an ambition to make friends from all over the world is a great recipe for success.

"We are grateful to them and their coaches for representing their schools and communities and indeed their country so incredibly well. We hope their success will inspire many other young people to take up debating."