Rotary Youth Speaks Competition 2023

Following a three-year hiatus as a result of COVID, Cranleigh Rotary were pleased to once again organise the Youth Debate competition for ‘local’ schools which took place at Rowleys Community Centre on 18 January.

Six teams took part - four at Intermediate level (11-13 years old) and two at Senior level (14-17 years) - representing three schools, namely Glebelands (2 teams), Duke of Kent and Seaford College.

Each team consisted of a Chairperson, a Proposer of the Motion and an Opposer to it, with a total of fifteen minutes allowed for each team to make their case. The topics chosen by the students were:

Intermediate teams

  • Professional sportswomen should NOT be paid the same as their male counterparts (Glebelands Team 1);
  • We should all adopt a Vegan lifestyle (Glebelands Team 2);
  • You should invest in property over stocks (Duke of Kent); and
  • Private schools should be abolished (Seaford).

Senior teams

  • Technology is having a detrimental effect on society (Duke of Kent): and
  • Plastic bags should be banned (Seaford).

The judges were: Nick Bamford (Chartered Financial Planner), Joan Connolly (Retired Deputy Headteacher) and Karen McCracken (Training and Development Consultant).

Youth debate 2023 (1)Youth debate 2023 (2)









After their presentation, each team had to respond to a relevant question ‘from the floor’, and then the three independent judges scored each team according to the quality of (a) their delivery, (b) subject matter, (c) argument construction, and (d) timing.

After a very close contest the winning team at Intermediate level was Seaford College, with Duke of Kent winning at the Senior level. Both teams were awarded a trophy. Every competition participant also received a certificate in recognition of their efforts.

The two winning teams proceeded to the next round, the District Semi-Final, which was also organised by Cranleigh Rotary. This event was held at the Duke of Kent School on 9 February.

The winners of the Semi-Final progressed to the District Final on 5 March, to be held at St Theresa’s School, Effingham, at 2 pm. The Duke of Kent School from our area will be competing at Senior level.