Magdalen hosts ‘Great Debate’ for budding Oxfordshire Historians

18th December 2019


The Oxfordshire Historical Association held the regional final of its debating competition for 15-18 year olds, the Great Debate, at Magdalen this month.

Students were given five minutes to present their prepared argument in answer to the question: ‘Should we judge historical figures by the morals of today?’

Eight participants from eight different schools from across Oxfordshire took part, supported by their friends, parents, and teachers.

The contest was judged by Magdalen Fellow in Modern History, Professor Sian Pooley, and Katharine Burn, Associate Professor of Education from St Cross College.

The standard of debating was incredibly high, but in the end Grace was crowned the winner.

“I think it’s good that Magdalen is getting involved in 6th form History and debating,” said Grace, “as it’s an opportunity to demystify the place and promote super-curricular activities while providing an environment for genuinely exciting academic discussion.”

She will now go on to represent Oxfordshire at the national final at Windsor Castle in March next year.

Before taking part in the competition, participants and their guests enjoyed a very wintry tour of College. This was followed by an opportunity to learn about History at Oxford and ask questions of current History undergraduates at Magdalen.

This event forms part of a broader outreach collaboration between Magdalen College and the Oxfordshire Historical Association, including an annual History Teachers Network event. We look forward to hosting local History teachers and students again in 2020.

The ‘Great Debate’ was also held at Magdalen in 2018.

For more details about our wide range of outreach and access activities, get in contact with our Outreach and Access team.