13 Feb 2019: Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School claim first Debating Matters Kent Championship

MidKent College in Gillingham hosted an inspiring day of debate in partnership with Localis.

Debating Matters came to MidKent College on Wednesday 13 February to give eight local schools the chance to test their ideas and arguments in the unique debating format where substance rather than style carries the day. After a hard-fought day of debate, it was Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School (also known as QEGS) who came out on top, impressing the judges and their peers with their outstanding ability to marshal arguments and deliver ideas.

In a heated final debate on the motion ‘Populism is a threat to democracy’, the winners successfully argued that we should be wary of populist leaders who draw a distinction between the elites and the people. Whilst fellow-finalists Invicta Grammar School argued fiercely that populists can give voice to important democratic concerns, the arguments of QEGS in the end carried the day.

QEGS win DM MidKent Championship
QEGS Faversham, the winners of Debating Matters Kent

With generous support from the hosts and from Localis, the neo-localist think tank, a fierce day of debates saw the schools tackle topics such as ‘We should build on the Green Belt’, ‘Social media sites should filter out fake news stories’, and ‘Autonomous vehicles will make driving safer’. As ever at Debating Matters, the students relished the opportunity to show off their research and demonstrate their arguments to judges drawn from the fields of local business, politics and academia, among others.

Invicta Grammar School, runners-up at DM MidKent
The runners-up, Invicta Grammar School, with Simon Cook

Debating Matters also had essential support from the hosts, MidKent College. MidKent College are one of several teams to participate in Debating Matters for the very first time in the 2018-19 series of Championships. Simon Cook, the principal of MidKent College, opened the day with an impassioned introduction stressing the need to debate and discuss ideas openly and the importance of this for the development of students and society at large.

Simon Cook, principal of MidKent College, introduces the day
Simon Cook, Principal of MidKent College, delivering his introductory remarks

The judges also awarded Harvey Chandler of Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School the prize of ‘Best Individual’ for his penetrating questions and wide base of knowledge, with Cherish Okorafor of Invicta Grammar School and Dervla Murphy of QEGS picking up the ‘Highly Commended’ and ‘Commended’ titles respectively.

Jonathan Werran presents Harvey Chandler with Best Individual prize
Harvey Chandler of Sir Joseph Williamson’s Mathematical School, receiving the Best Individual prize from Jonathan Werran, CEO of Localis

In true Debating Matters style, the discussions continued after the event closed, with the schools planning to visit each other again for more debates in the future. Debating Matters is proud to see a culture of debate develop in Gillingham and the surrounding area!


Thursday 27 June:
Oxfordshire Championship at Oxford Union, in partnership with Magdalen College School and Oxford Festival of Arts

Friday 5 July:
North East Championship at Durham Sixth Form Centre


Find a list of all our previous championship events here.


Bernie Whelan, our DM coordinator, is raising money for Debating Matters. To stage one of our Championships for six to 12 teams costs £6,000. Find out more on Bernie’s Wonderful fundraising page.


© 2005-2023 Debating Matters Competition, boi, Unit 208, Cocoa Studios, The Biscuit Factory, Drummond Road, London, SE16 4DG, UK

Tel +44 (0)20 3176 0827 - | admin login