Multilingual debaters tackle some hot topics

Monday 29 January 2018

Student linguists from across the north-east made a return visit to The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) this week to test their language and debating skills.

A-level students of French, Spanish and German were put on the spot as they debated topics of the day such as the language barrier and integration, whether French/Spanish/German culture is dying out through globalisation, and do the youth of today have it easier than ever before.

It was the second year running that GSAL has hosted the north east regional modern foreign language debates. The visiting schools from across the region included Newcastle High School for Girls, Silcoates School, Harrogate Ladies’ College, All Saints School York, Yarm School, Hymers College, Ripon Grammar School, and Bootham School.

The adjudicators for the debates were all modern languages students at the University of Leeds. Anna Connors, in her fourth year of a degree in French, said: “It’s my first experience of adjudicating a debate and has been a very enjoyable day. We’re all amazed at the high standard, they speak as if they’re university students.”

Congratulations to the winning schools – Hymers College in Spanish, All Saints in French, and Bootham in German.

GSAL’s sixth form students held their own, fielding five teams across all the languages with four teams reaching the semi-finals. The team members were Tom Shakespeare, Ciaran Duggan, Arthur Bainbridge, Emily Ball, Sam Kunin, Andrew Robinson, Flavia Schofield, Izzy Firth, Freya Marshall, Mahika Gogi and Kitty Farren. Charlie Peach deserves a special mention for crossing the floor to help out Newcastle High as an honorary student.

Nick Hele, head of French, said: “It’s been a superb event thanks to everyone who helped out or took part, from GSAL, the visiting schools and the university. We can be very proud of our own students; although we didn’t win silverware, we were the school with the most strength in depth across the three languages.”

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