Monmouthshire County Council is delighted to have welcomed the debating team of Goytre Fawr Primary School to County Hall for their debate on Wednesday 3rd July. 15 eager pupils took over the council chamber to present arguments on whether the Welsh language should be taught as the second dominant language in schools.

It’s the second time enthusiastic youngsters from the school’s debating club have visited the chamber to demonstrate their public speaking skills. The group is made up of 25 members ageing between 8 and 11-years-old. The pupils spent a number of weeks preparing and practicing key debating skills before taking part in mini debates.

This year’s topic was decided following the school’s recent focus on the Welsh language and the new Curriculum for Wales. Pupils were also interested in the idea of learning Welsh alongside the modern foreign languages the new Curriculum has a place.

The debating club was founded in 2016 by the school’s Chair of Governors Kathryn Edwards, the club is aimed at giving children the opportunity to have more experience of public speaking while helping to improve their listening skills. The extra-curricular activity has proved successful in developing the pupils’ confidence and ignited their interests in topical matters.

Councillor Richard John, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said: “It’s wonderful to see young people engaging with Monmouthshire County Council and sharing their views on topical matters. Monmouthshire’s children have shared their enthusiasm for Welsh language and culture in today’s discussion about the importance of the Welsh language to our children. Da iawn pawb. We look forward to welcoming the team back to the chamber in the future.”

Commenting on the success of the debate team, Kathryn Edwards said: “I wanted the pupils to really think about debating skills – they have enquiring minds, they are interested in what is going on around them and it was putting that to good use. It’s also really easy to forget that listening is just as important as speaking when debating. Taking time to consider other viewpoints is vital.”

Kathryn has plans to build on this year’s event with the aim of making it even bigger and better for their next visit.

Reflecting on her experience in the chamber, 11-year-old Amelia, Chair of the debate team said: “It was good fun. It’s given me confidence and will help me speak in front of an audience in future.”

Fellow pupil Gabby added: “I enjoyed being able to say what I believe. We need to stand up for our own points of view. We need to have our own choices. It has improved my confidence.”