no 10

Noadswood pupils take to the floor for schools’ debating final in Downing Street

May 12, 2016


Two pupils from Noadswood School were among the finalists competing in a unique debating competition for schools hosted by the Prime Minister and educational charity Debate Mate in Downing Street this week (Tuesday 10 May).

The Downing Street Debates initiative was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this year, and was designed and delivered jointly with Debate Mate through their after-school debating clubs. The Debates were run in memory of Chris Martin, former Principal Private Secretary to the Prime Minister and a former pupil of Noadswood, who died last November.

Thousands of pupils from across the UK competed in a series of workshops to discuss issues relating to democracy and the history of government, with participants then invited to submit a short video setting out what they would do if they were Prime Minister for the day.

Chloe Wright (14) and Fraser Smith (15) from Noadswood were chosen to represent their school at the finals in Westminster. The pair were successful in the semi-final debate, which took place in the Houses of Parliament on the 10th May and were selected along with team mates from Burnage Academy in Manchester and from Wade Deacon High School in Widnes, Cheshire to compete in the final stage of the competition.

The final debate, held in Number 10, saw pupils aged 11-15 debate the motion ‘This House would introduce compulsory voting in the UK’.

David Cameron congratulated pupils on reaching the final as he talked about the important role which debating can play in developing young people’s character and resilience, as well as his hopes that more young people from all backgrounds will have the opportunity to try their hand at debating during their time at school.


Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“The Downing Street Debates showcased some of the great talent we have in our schools and I want to congratulate all of today’s finalists, who spoke with passion and confidence on issues relevant to all of us.

“It’s vital we give all young people the tools they need to make their voice heard, which is why the work of organisations like Debate Mate is so important – helping children develop the confidence and skills which will help them get on in life.”


Margaret McCabe, Founder & CEO, Debate Mate said:

“Working with Number 10 on Downing Street Debates has been hugely successful. Our students have thoroughly enjoyed this new and innovative project, and the Grand Finals day at the Houses of Parliament and Number 10 was truly remarkable.

“It proves that young people, irrespective of background, have the capability to hold their own in any environment, debating the issues of the day in the seats of our democracy. I think it’s fair to say that Debate Mate is creating the leaders of the future!”


Clare White, Curriculum Leader for English at Noadswood School said:

“Team Noadswood had an incredible day. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all. My students felt privileged to be actually debating in the House of Commons, followed by a visit to Number 10 for the final. This truly was an inspiring event.

“We felt proud to be representing Noadswood, the secondary school attended by Chris Martin himself (Prime Minister’s Principal Private Secretary, before his untimely death in 2015). In light of this, it seemed fitting to have a Noadswood student in the final. It was fantastic to see teenagers, from different schools across the UK, who were thrown together on the day, working collaboratively. A truly memorable event.”