Doncaster schoolchildren learn valuable oracy skills in Big Debate with author Frank Cottrell Boyce | Business Doncaster
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Doncaster schoolchildren learn valuable oracy skills in Big Debate with author Frank Cottrell Boyce

Acclaimed children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce is to chair a Big Debate for local schoolchildren at the National College for High Speed Rail, Doncaster, on Monday 12 November 2018. Organised by educational charity The English-Speaking Union and popular children’s current affairs magazine The Week Junior, the event will see around 150 students from six local primary schools invited for a day of fun, interactive workshops to help them build their oracy (speaking and listening) skills.

Students from Arbourthorne Community Primary School in Sheffield, all of whom took part in the English-Speaking Union’s Discover Debating programme in the last school year, will also hold a show debate on the theme of ‘This house believes that more children’s stories should have unhappy endings’. Frank Cottrell Boyce will chair the debate.

‘I’m a big advocate for children developing their reading and speaking skills from a young age, especially since this is when I first discovered my love for writing and reading,’ says Frank Cottrell Boyce. ‘Debating is a great way for young people to really develop their communication skills which will only get better and better as time goes on.’

‘We know from our experience that debating is a skill which develops confidence, critical thinking and has a positive impact on wider academic abilities, all of which open doors and help children to reach their full potential,’ says Duncan Partridge, Director of Education at the English-Speaking Union. ‘We are delighted to be holding this event in Doncaster, an Opportunity Area, where the fostering of social mobility is a priority.’

The day is named after The Week Junior’s regular feature: The Big Debate (on which the ESU advises), which every week looks at a different topic from ‘Should children have to do homework?’ to ‘Is it okay to wear pyjamas in public?’ Anna Bassi, Editor-in-Chief of The Week Junior said: ‘We’re thrilled to be joining forces with the English-Speaking Union to host this exciting event. The Week Junior encourages young people to form and share their own opinions and helps readers to explore a range of perspectives. The Big Debate Day will demonstrate how to put those skills into practice and build confidence and competence in public speaking.’

The event is hosted by the National College for High Speed Rail in Doncaster, set up to provide training and work experience to learners aged 18 and above in all aspects of high-speed rail. Clair Mowbray, Chief

Executive for the College said: ‘We are thrilled to host the Big Debate event at our site in Doncaster. Oracy skills are very important in the rail industry and we hope our specialist kit and equipment, including the Eurostar power car, #Donnystar, will inspire the students and give them lots to talk about!’

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Attending Doncaster schools:

  • Highfields Primary Academy
  • Hatfield Crookesbroom Primary Academy
  • Castle Hills Primary School
  • St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School
  • Park Primary School Edenthorpe
  • Hall Primary Academy