In March, a group of eight Lower Sixth Formers represented Dean Close at the European Youth Parliament competition, held in the debating chamber of the Oxford Union. The day started off with a thoughtful and challenging speech from the Rt Hon Andrew Smith, MP for Oxford East, who addressed the current difficulties and dangers facing Europe and Britain today.

The Dean Close team then proceeded to engage in a series of debates throughout the day,discussing the way in which the EU should respond to a variety of diverse contemporary issues, including how to build an effective relationship with the new US administration, how the EU ensures that itmeets its ethical obligationswhenengaging inthe internationalarmstrade and whether or not the EU should impose a”sugar tax” tocombat thegrowing problem of childhood obesity. In the final debate, three Dean Close pupils showed off their impressive language skills by making speeches in the foreign languages debate, addressing the importance and value of education whilst speaking entirely in French and Russian.

The day was a great opportunity for the team to show off their public speaking skills and their ability to debate effectively, and they very much rose to the challenge. They demonstrated the ability to think quickly on their feet and effectively respond to challenging interventions in fast moving debates, articulate their own arguments, critique those of opposing committees and successfully build political alliances with other groups of students. Overall, it was an enjoyable and stimulating day and the experience of debating contemporary affairs with pupils from other schools in such a famous setting is one that the Dean Close team will certainly remember.

Team Members:Izzy Montgomery,Izzy Moulding,Sona Tatarian,Grace Starling,Louis Morford,Hugo Till,Tom Ford,Freddie Gilgallon-Scoular