Primary Debating Project with West Norfolk Primary Schools
This project brought together 12 schools from the DNEAT West Norfolk region, in a unique debating competition. Year 5 pupils experienced workshops from Sky Yarlett, Parliament Outreach Officer, and Dr Speca of Norwich School, before devising their own debates.
They were assisted by Norwich School's Year 10 debating pupils along the way, who coached them in how to form and deliver an argument.
The aim of the project was to introduce primary school children to the ideas around democracy, government and public speaking, through a debating style competition. Pupils were able to use the experience to work on their speaking and listening skills, and consider some of the issues which are important to them.
Norwich School had previously worked with Oliver Burwood, Executive Principal at DNEAT, in his previous role as Head Teacher of Blofield Primary during a smaller scale debating project. The trust were keen to replicate something similar with a wider group of children from different schools across the county.
The aim was to encourage schools across a single MAT to work together for a joint project which would give pupils a chance to experience some learning outside the classroom.
Initial planning took place at Norwich School, with a view to using the school's Blake Studio as the event venue for the final of the project.
Four workshops then took place over two days at Colkirk Primary Academy and Whitefriar's Academy, with pupils from neighbouring DNEAT schools travelling to their nearest school to take part.
Initial workshops were organised and led by the DNEAT group, an Outreach Officer from UK Parliament, and Norwich School's teaching staff and pupils. The collaboration and partnership between the participating schools was crucial in facilitating the project, with staff organising transport between locations for participating pupils, Norwich School pupils giving up time to coach younger pupils, and finally parent support and involvement in the final event.
The concluding session took place at Norwich School's Blake Studio, with teams speaking to propose and oppose the issues devised in the development workshops. A vote was put to the audience of children's parents and teachers to decide which team won each debate. The final session was chaired by Dr Speca of Norwich School.
Throughout the project, pupils were given the opportunity to learn about how democracy works in the UK, and how decisions on important issues can be decided through debating. Pupils learned by doing independent research on their topics to form debates and were coached in public speaking by the older Norwich School pupils.
24 primary pupils in Year 5 from 12 different schools participated in the project, with 6 Norwich School Year 10 pupils coaching.
This event was a pilot for future partnership work with both DNEAT and with debating pupils. We hope to continue the project in future terms with other schools in the MAT.