STUDENTS from The Burgate School in Fordingbridge celebrated a fantastic performance at the national Debating Matters final - winning second prize.

The team of six, who were drawn from the Burgate Sixth Form and part of the Gifted and Talent initiative were one of 12 school teams to reach the national finals in London. The competition is run by the Institute of Ideas

Miriam Cakebread and Megan Sanger were runners up, after skilfully arguing their case for free speech in a closely fought final. Olivia Beatson and Tom Lansdale won their semi-final easily, arguing the motion “We should build on the Green Belt”. Other team members included Rebekah Wild and Ethan Mann, who also won their debates, demonstrating quick thinking and immaculate research.

Olivia was awarded the Best Individual Prize, whilst Tom was given a special mention by the judges.

Louise Troup, who coached the group, said: “To reach the final two out of 170 schools nationally is an astounding achievement. I am extremely proud of my team’s performance.”

Head of Sixth Form Steph Fenner praised the team, adding: “This is an unbelievably fantastic achievement, not only for the individuals involved, but also for the school as a whole. For a non-selective, state-funded school, to achieve at this level is an incredible accomplishment and testimony to the truly inspirational talent here at The Burgate.”