Students at Skegness Grammar School take on Great Debate

Students from Skegness Grammar School, part of the David Ross Education Trust, have been competing in a county-wide debating championship as part of the Historical Association’s ‘Great Debate’.


During the Lincolnshire heat of the competition, which was held at Lincoln’s Bishop Grosseteste University, Year 13 student Finlay Chatterton-Smith impressed the judges with his persuasive arguments and polished debating skills.


Focusing on the topic of whether the 1918 extension of the vote to women was the most significant moment in British democratic history, Finlay produced a five-minute speech which wowed the judges with his knowledge, confidence and his ability to see past the positive interpretations of collective memory.


In a bold move, Finlay went against popular opinion by arguing that the extension of the franchise was not the most significant moment in British democratic history, as it wasn’t as far-reaching as popular histories would have us believe.


Finlay will now go on to compete in the prestigious national ‘Great Debate’ finals which will be held at the Houses of Parliament in March. Competing against students from across the country, Finlay will have the chance to be crowned national champion and win a cash prize, a year’s subscription to the Historical Association and a number of prizes for his school.


Finlay said: “I am really excited to be going to the Houses of Parliament to deliver my speech. With a little more practice I am sure I can do both Skegness Grammar School and myself proud.” 


Another Skegness Grammar School student, Bradley Walker, also participated in the ‘Great Debate’ competition. He received praise from the judges regarding his interpretation of the topic and answered their questions with confidence and expertise.


Laura Howey, Subject Improvement Lead for Humanities at Skegness Grammar School, said: “This has been a fantastic opportunity for our students to engage in debates about key historical and political concepts. I am delighted that both of our students performed so well and look forward to supporting Finlay at the final in London.”


Heather Scott, Principal at Skegness Grammar School, said: “Finlay and Bradley have worked incredibly hard to research and produce their five-minute speeches to deliver a winning performance. I am thrilled for both students and look forward to seeing Finlay in the final at Westminster next March.” 




Skegness Grammar School, part of the David Ross Education Trust, aims to provide every student with a world-class education by focusing on delivering high standards of attainment and achievement, whilst raising confidence and self-esteem amongst individuals.


Being part of an educational community, sharing ideas and a love of learning is such an important part of a child's education. Offering a rich and exciting learning environment that inspires students to become their confident, academic best is vital to this. 


The David Ross Education Trust’s ‘Monday’s Debates’ initiative, which runs across every primary and secondary school, encourages students to develop their knowledge of current affairs as part of debates that take place every week. With topics ranging from human rights and peace to the use of technology in our daily lives, students are encouraged to share their views and argue their case with rigour and confidence as part of this pioneering initiative.