North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis hosts seventh annual democracy challenge

A Banbury area school has won the seventh annual democracy challenge hosted by North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis.

Monday, 8th November 2021, 1:32 pm
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 1:34 pm

North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis hosted her seventh annual ‘Cherwell Democracy Challenge’ on Friday November 5 to mark the end of UK parliament week 2021.

This is a debating competition sponsored by Cherwell District Council (CDC,) and held within the council chambers. The day was attended by local secondary schools including North Oxfordshire Academy, Sibford School, The Warriner and The Bicester School, who competed against one another in two rounds for a spot in the final round.

Rounds one and two saw teams debate environmental protests and artificial intelligence.

Sibford School wins the seventh annual democracy challenge hosted by North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis (submitted photo from office MP Victoria Prentis)

After a very competitive morning of debating, and much deliberation between the panel of judges, North Oxfordshire Academy and Sibford School reached the final. While the finalists were preparing, the other students had an opportunity to ask the judges questions and learn more about their day-to-day lives. A well fought final debating a motion on nuclear weaponry saw Sibford School walk away as this year’s champions.

Judges included Victoria Prentis MP, Lord Boswell of Aynho, Deputy Leader of Cherwell District Council Ian Corkin, Cherwell District Cllr Hugo Brown, Bicester Village Community Relations Director Miranda Markham, Bicester Town Cllr Zoe McLernon, and Banbury Guardian journalist Matt Elofson.

Victoria said: “I always look forward to my Cherwell Democracy Challenge. It is a fantastic way for local students to take part in engaging debate during UK parliament week. With last year’s challenge taking place virtually, it was wonderful to have students back in-person for a lively day of debating.”

“I’m always impressed by local pupils’ awareness of issues and standard of arguments; this year was no different. Sibford and North Oxfordshire Academy were particularly impressive in the final. Sibford School came away as winners, with an excellent team performance. Congratulations to Tom, Joe, Julia and George who supported one another from start to finish.”

Pupils from Sibford School and North Oxfordshire Academy School compete in the final of the Cherwell Democracy Challenge hosted by MP Victoria Prentis. (Submitted photo from the office MP Victoria Prentis)

“I would like to thank all of the judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to attend. It was a truly fun day and was very encouraging to see so many young people engaged.

"All students articulated their points with such confidence and I was impressed with how much they knew. I hope the pupils got as much out of the day as I did. I hope they enjoyed the experience as much as possible. It was truly humbling to see so many young people use their voice in such a positive and empowering way.”