Johnston success is no debate

Durham Times: Durham Johnston School debaters Lawrence Rees, Louis Cowling, Esme Stout and George Butcher, with teacher Rob Johnson Durham Johnston School debaters Lawrence Rees, Louis Cowling, Esme Stout and George Butcher, with teacher Rob Johnson

FOUR young debaters will represent the region in a national competition, after winning a local heat last week.

Teenagers from Durham Johnston School, in Durham City, were named Debating Matters champions for the North-East and Yorkshire following a contest held in Newcastle on Friday, March 4.

They will now represent the region at a three-day Institute of Ideas national final in London in July.

Judges said Durham Johnston’s debaters were ‘extremely sophisticated in their arguments and showed a remarkable ability to think on their feet’.

Students discussed topics including: ‘Happiness is the business of government’, ‘Copyright benefits the arts’ and ‘We should embrace the use of smart drugs’.

Student Louis Cowling, who won the Best Individual award, said: "It was brilliant but extraordinarily stressful."

Classmate Lawrence Rees said: "Debating Matters promotes a high quality of debate because the judges are subject experts - they really test you to the limit."

Teacher Rob Johnson said: "They did brilliantly - bring on the national final."

The school won £500-worth of books.

Schools from Newcastle, Northumberland, Bradford, Grimsby and York also competed.

Durham Johnston were crowned national champions two years ago.

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