On 25 November, Victoria Prentis MP and Cherwell District Council welcomed six secondary schools from her constituency to take part in the second annual Cherwell Democracy Challenge at the Council’s offices at Bodicote House.

In the first two rounds, each team of four debated whether councils should rehouse Syrian refugees, and if rules restricting the creation of new grammar schools should be relaxed. While the students knew the topics beforehand, and had been provided with a short information sheet, they did not know which side of the debate they would be on until the day. The controversial topics provided some lively debate, with many of the students arguing their case with conviction.

After a lunch kindly provided by the Council, the two finalists were announced as Blessed George Napier Catholic School and The Warriner School. They were given time to prepare for the final motion on Parliament’s role in the UK’s exit from the European Union while the rest of the students took part in a Q&A session with judges Councillor Barry Wood, Councillor Colin Clarke, Anita Higham OBE, Chris Lillington and Paul Angus.

The final was a close-fought match in the main council chamber, with both sides providing some convincing arguments. In the end, The Warriner were declared the winners.

Victoria commented: “The Cherwell Democracy Challenge was a wonderful event. It is fast becoming an annual fixture for local schools. I was delighted to see how much the standard had improved from last year’s inaugural event. The Warriner were worthy winners but I was really impressed by all the schools who took part and I look forward to seeing them again next year.


Victoria with the winning team from The Warriner School, Bloxham.


Judges Chris Lillington, Anita Higham OBE, Victoria Prentis MP, Cllr Barry Wood, Paul Angus and Cllr Colin Clarke in the Council Chamber.


Victoria and the finalists of the 2016 Cherwell Democracy Challenge.