On the 28th October 2019, The Forest Academy was one of the schools in Redbridge that attended the debate that took place in Caterham High School, about British values. The Forest Academy arrived at this debate with six representatives: Oreoluwa Onile-Ere, Syeda Haque, Omar Rafi, Melech Gunthorpe, Sehbazdeep Singh and Bolarinwa Onile-Ere, who were all well prepared and ready to voice their opinions in the debate.

The motion of the debate was ‘British values divide and rejects communities’. We learnt an acronym to help us remember what the British Values were (DIMTT): Democracy, Individual liberty, Mutual Respect, The rule of Law and Tolerance of other Religions and Beliefs. As well as the acronym, we also made notes on each British value, arguing for and against the motion. We also made flash cards and had a small scale debate between ourselves, before leaving for the event, in order to get an overview on what the debate was going to look like.

Overall, the debate was great, with each of our representatives feeling more confident to speak out in front of an audience and argue their points more constructively and knowing clearly what the British Values are. The highlight of the day was the Q&A, where we learnt about the racial discrimination one of our panel members (Cllr Sadiq Kothia) went through whilst growing up. Two things I liked about the debate were: getting to mix with other students and getting to hear personal stories from the panel members.

Oreoluwa Onile-Ere