Perse students aim to do their talking in prestigious debating final

Rebecca Li and Alina Turchyn (both Lower Sixth) successfully argued their case to reach the Oxford Union Schools Debating Competition finals.

Out of 70 teams, they finished first in the online regional round to qualify for the final, which takes place in Oxford next month.

They took part in two debates on the topics of whether the glamorisation of start-up culture does more harm than good and the abolition of private schools.

Having been drawn to open both debates, Rebecca and Alina were delighted to win the regional competition.

Rebecca said: “You get 15 minutes beforehand to prepare and opening is significantly harder than closing because you’re the first ones to speak and you don’t have much to interact with.”

Alina added: “We make a really good team and we were ecstatic to win. I’ve done a lot of competitions online, so I’m very used to the drill, but I’ve been yearning for a competition in person.”

Rebecca and Alina will continue putting in plenty of practice to ensure they are ready for the final.

Alina said: “We run the debating clubs at school, so we get practice through teaching, but we also take part in debates with each other.

“We have a book with 300 different motions and we’ll randomly pick one and debate against each other. It’s a really useful exercise to get into the right mindset.”

Both students are now relishing the chance to demonstrate their way with words in the Oxford Union chamber.

Rebecca said: “I’m looking forward to debating against people with different styles who come up with different arguments and we’re really looking forward to doing it in person.”

Alina added: “There will be international level teams taking part and I’ve only debated at international level once before, but hopefully that experience will help.”


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