BBC praises Uckfield students’ debating skills

Students from Uckfield Community Technology College were one of the winning teams in a BBC Schools Questions and Answers competition.

More than 800 schools made audio entries of around six minutes of political debate.

UCTC students from years 11,12 and 13 debated the issue “Are the police justified in ‘kettling’ protestors?”, and their contributions were judged among the top six of the entries.

Rob Pearson from the BBC said “Your audio debate about kettling impressed our judges at every stage” and went on to indicate that the college would be involved with the follow up Any Questions side of Schools Questions and Answers.

Students on the panel were: Olivia Nunnerly-Hood (Year 12, Politics), Joseph Jameson (Year 12, Politics) and Carys Coleman (Year 13, Philosophy). Well-argued and neatly delivered contributions from the audience were made by Isabella Wilson (Year 11, Critical Thinking AS), Guilia Lima-Bianchi (Year 11, Critical Thinking AS), Liz Murray (Year 12, Politics) and Rob Williams (Year 13, Critical Thinking AS).

A further ten students were in the audience providing a lively backdrop to the proceedings.

Dan Buschle, subject leader for politics, philosophy and critical thinking at UCTC, who organised the event, said students prepared for the debate by studying arguments for and against the use of kettling during demonstrations.

They watched past news items and looked at contributions from a range of writers over the past two years in order to understand the arguments for and against the police practice.

Students also debated the underlying values justifying kettling as opposed to those who argue that kettling is un-democratic and that it restricts the individual rights of citizens.

Mr Buschle said he was delighted by the success of the students and added: “The controversial topic both excited and enraged some students but they controlled their emotions well and displayed a very high level of debating skills.”

If you would like to hear the UCTC contribution, it may be played or downloaded from the college website here.

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