Knutsford Academy win TLP’s first Debate Mate Competition

Building on the momentum of recent discussions, both the Trust and Debate Mate were thrilled to introduce a series of bespoke student workshops and a trust-wide debating competition aimed at nurturing essential skills among students.
After a hotly contested and day-long rounds of debating, the event culminated in a final between students from Crewe UTC and Knutsford Academy. The motion debated was “This House believes protests are the most effective means of social change” which saw Knutsford Academy raise the winner’s trophy. The day was made extra-special thanks to the generosity of De Vere Cranage Estate, who provided their prestigious venue free of charge. 
All five TLP secondary schools took part in the day, with two teams from each school debating against each other to make it through to the final round. In total, almost 70 students came together at Cranage Hall to compete for the title of TLP Debating Champions from Congleton High School, Crewe Engineering & Design UTC, Knutsford Academy, The Oaks Academy, Crewe and Sir William Stanier, Crewe. Congratulations go to Knutsford Academy for winning the final round, and to Crewe UTC on their hard-earned second place.
The judges were David Wootton CBE, our Chair of Trustees and former adviser to the Department for Education; Mike Cladingbowl, former National Director of Schools for Ofsted and former CEO of The Learning Alliance; and Alison Hooper, Personal Development Lead for TLP and former Headteacher at Egerton Primary School.

New era of educational enrichment

The partnership between Debate Mate and The Learning Partnership Trust heralds a new era of educational enrichment, emphasising the cultivation of confidence, critical thinking, and effective communication among students and educators alike. 
The initiative kicked off with full-day workshops tailored for each of the five TLP secondary schools, accommodating 15-20 students at each school. These workshops focused on developing core confidence skills, nurturing critical thinking abilities, and honing competitive debating prowess. Additionally, the establishment of a partnership-wide debating competition will provide students with a platform to showcase their newfound skills and celebrate their growth.

Invaluable life skills

Speaking on the collaboration, Alison Hooper, Personal Development Lead at The Learning Partnership Trust, expressed excitement about the potential impact of the initiative, stating, “We believe that by equipping students with essential skills such as confidence, critical thinking, and effective communication, we are preparing them to thrive in an increasingly complex world."
Abby McGovern, Director of Education at Debate Mate, echoed this sentiment, empathising with the transformative power of debate in education. "Debate Mate is honoured to partner with The Learning Partnership Trust in empowering students through the art of debate. We are confident that this initiative will not only enhance students' academic performance but also equip them with invaluable life skills that will serve them well beyond the classroom."
The joint effort between Debate Mate and The Learning Partnership Trust marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of educational excellence and student empowerment. As the program unfolds, it promises to inspire a new generation of confident, articulate, and critical thinkers poised to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.