Enfield students impress Old Bailey judges during ‘outstanding leader’ debate

Students from Oasis Academy Hadley faced tough questioning from judges at the Old Bailey last night, but won their debate on the humanitarian achievements of Malala Yousafzai.

In the final heat of this year’s Sheriffs’ London Challenge, students from the Ponders End-based school went head-to-head with their counterparts from Duke’s Aldridge Academy in Haringey, who championed Halima Hussein, a London-based female Muslim Imam and women’s rights activist.

Now in its second year, the Sheriffs’ London Challenge is an inter-school public speaking competition, which is supported by the City of London Corporation and financial services-focused City livery companies.

Seven students from Oasis Academy Hadley put their successful case to the judging panel, arguing that Malala Yousafzai had, among other traits, “the vision, integrity and self-confidence” required to be an outstanding leader.

The 20-year old Pakistani female education and human rights campaigner, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, in retaliation for her activism, went on to become the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate in 2014.

Last night’s event took place in Court Number Two, in front of an invited audience and a panel comprising Judge Anuja Dhir QC, Judge Wendy Joseph QC, and Sheriff of London Neil Redcliffe.

Sixteen school teams from across London had initially entered the competition, all of them challenged to debate the same question, “Whom do you regard as an outstanding living leader, and why?”

Sarah Hamilton, Assistant Principal, Oasis Academy Hadley, said:

“The London Sheriffs’ Challenge has allowed our sixth form students to hone and develop invaluable teamwork, research, and public speaking skills.

“They would like to thank the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants for the indispensable mentoring and support over the past three months, as well as the Sheriff of London Timothy Hailes and the City of London Corporation for hosting such a fantastic opportunity.”

Sheriff of London Timothy Hailes said:

“Warmest congratulations to Oasis Academy Hadley for presenting such a persuasive case for Malala Yousafzai.

“The Sheriffs’ Challenge is a character-building and nerve-wracking experience for the students, who must face a tough judging panel in intimidating surroundings.

“My colleagues and I were hugely impressed that the students tackled the challenge with relish, and they should be rightly proud of their win.”

Following the announcement of the winning team, the students were presented with an engraved cup and certificates by Sheriff Neil Redcliffe, before attending a photo call for the media in Grand Hall.

The City of London Corporation, which owns and manages the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) invests over £100m every year in heritage and cultural activities of all kinds. It is the UK’s largest funder of culture after the government, the BBC, and the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Notes for Editors:

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About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation provides local government and policing services for the financial and commercial heart of Britain, the 'Square Mile'. In addition, the City Corporation has three roles:

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