The Mount hosts our regional round of the Historical Association’s Great Debate

Working with young people is always inspiring, but sometimes more so than ever.  Hearing local sixth formers rise to the challenge of presenting their views about the significance of Magna Carta in the context of civil liberties was one of those ‘more so than ever’ occasions.  I think quite a lot of staff had looked at the theme for this year – Magna Carta’s significance in anticipation of the 800th anniversary in 2015 – and thought it was tough.  We heard several times this evening that 45% of British people told a YouGov poll they had never heard of Magna Carta.  Thanks to the HA Great Debate, a group of York A level historians are not part of that number.  There was impressive style and evidence-based argument from all contributors.  Careful research had been done and thought had gone into what it is that makes something historically significant.  Students ranged across the centuries, arguing for and against the pre-eminence of the Magna Carta in the history of civil liberties.  In the end upper 6th maturity won through and congratulations go to Alice Whitehead of All Saints School who will be our regional representative in the national final.  Thanks to all participants, teachers and other supporters for making the event, and particular thanks to Dr David Powell for judging.

HA Great Debate 2014


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