Primary school children from across North Yorkshire argued the pros and cons of homework when they faced each other in the final of a county-wide debating contest.
The competition, which was started by North Yorkshire County Council’s then chairman, County Councillor Cliff Trotter, is in its fifth year. Almost 50 teams competed in the heats, which were held in each district of the county. The finalists met in the council chamber at County Hall, the headquarters of the County Council in Northallerton, on Friday, 16 June.
This year’s finalists were Richmond Methodist School, Bedale Church of England Primary School, Rossett Acre Primary School, Hampsthwaite Primary School, Amotherby Primary School, Embsay Primary School, Northstead Community Primary School, Scarborough, and Riverside Primary School, Tadcaster.
The topic of debate was “Is homework a waste of time?” and the debate was judged by a panel of county councillors and council officers. The winning school was Bedale Church of England Primary. The runner-up was Riverside Primary School.
Councillor Trotter, who was unable to attend this year’s final because of an injury, said: “I started this competition in an effort to try to interest more young people in politics. Its increasing popularity shows that we are doing that, and the standard is improving each year. I have been so impressed by the professionalism of the children and the confidence they show when speaking before a room full of people.”
County Councillor Janet Sanderson, Executive Member for Children and Young People’s Services and a member of the judging panel, added: “It’s wonderful to be able to give children the opportunity to perform in a setting like the council chamber, which carries so much tradition. It’s a fitting setting, too, to acknowledge the high level of the debate and the tremendous amount of preparation the schools have put in.”
During the event, the children also chose the topic for next year’s competition. They suggested various subjects before taking a vote. The winning motion was “Is social media a danger to children?”