2018 Great Debate competition for sixth-form students 

University of Exeter hosts “Great Debate” for local pupils

Devon pupils competed to win the chance to speak in the Houses of Parliament by debating the significance of women being given the right to vote at a special event at the University of Exeter.

The teenagers discussed the impact of the extension of the voting franchise a century ago as part of the 2018 Great Debate, a national public-speaking competition for sixth-form students with an interest in history run by The Historical Association.

The competition is divided into approximately 20 regional heats across the UK. In order to be in with a chance of speaking at the final in Parliament, students must compete to win their regional heat.

The pupils - from Exeter College, Thomas Hardye School, Exeter School and Exmouth College - each presented a five minute argument to the three judges, history academics Dr Bruce Coleman, Dr Freyja Cox Jensen and Dr Matthew Rendle. The winner was Tom Burrows from Exeter College.

The event was run by University of Exeter history students. This year's competition is being held in partnership with the UK Parliament's Vote 100 project, and the Grand Final will take place at the Houses of Parliament on 10 March 2018.

History student Barnabas Balint, one of the organisers of the event, said: “It was a pleasure to host a regional heat of the HA’s Great Debate in Exeter – something that has not happened for many years. I am proud that we have given students from Devon and Dorset this amazing opportunity to develop their skills and interest in History. I was extremely impressed with the arguments put forward by students and the way they responded to a high level of questioning from our academics. Particular thanks go to Jemima Pople and Katie Nicholls from the History Student-Staff Liaison Committee who organised and ran this extremely successful event.”



Date: 6 February 2018

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