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University tests teenage talkers

07 Mar 2007

16 secondary schools from across Greater Manchester arrive at The University of Manchester this Friday, March 9, to take part in the Annual Manchester Schools Debating Tournament, which is being judged by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP.

It aims to encourage more young people to experience the extra-curricular side to University firsthand and develop their confidence and skill in oral communication. Now in its third year, the Tournament is organised by the University's Widening Participation Office and Student Debating Society.

Preparations began in December pupils when the Y10 and Y11 pupils came into the University to learn from Manchester students the ins and outs of formal debating structures used in University competitions in readiness for the Tournament itself.

Between December and March, University students have spent time in schools running extra workshops developing young people's skills.

Head of Widening Participation, Julian Skyrme, said: "The quality of debate promises once again to be fantastic. Through these fun activities, pupils get a chance to hone their skills in presenting logical arguments, which will help in all aspects of their academic work. Importantly, they also get a chance to come onto our campus and mix with positive student role-models.

"A University education is more and more important in gaining access to professional and well paid work and such activities are known to inspire young people to consider University who previously thought that it wasn't for them."


  • The event takes place in the University's main ceremonial hall, The Whitworth Hall, on Friday 9 March 2007.
  • The final itself will take place between 3pm and 4pm although students arrive and take part in heats and practices from 9.30am.
  • Enquiries, interviews and further information can be obtained from Julian Skyrme, Head of Widening Participation / 0161 275 2050 or Jon Keighren, Media Relations Manager, on 0161 275 8384

Participating schools include:

Astley Sports College - Tameside

Broadoak High School - Trafford

Burnage High School - Manchester

Chorlton High School - Manchester

Fairfield High School - Tameside

Littlemoss High School - Tameside

Lostock College - Trafford

Lymm High School - Cheshire

Our Lady's RC Sports College - Manchester

Parrs Wood High School - Manchester

St Ambrose Barlow High School - Salford

Stretford High School - Trafford

Trinity High School - Manchester

Wellcare Technology College - Trafford

Whalley Range High School - Manchester

Wright Robinson Specialist College - Manchester