A TEAM of bright young minds won books for their Hammersmith school after storming a national debating contest.

Madeline Bowen, Nick Freeman, Phillip Anthony-Gardner and Ted Loveday, of Latymer Upper School, in King Street, took on seven other schools at the final of the Institute of Ideas and Pfizer Debating Matters Competition.

They had to come through three gruelling days of debating at the Royal Society of Medicine between July 2 and 4.

Topics they had to successfully debate included 'Clinical trials in developing countries are exploitative', 'Western museums should agree to requests to repatriate cultural artefacts' and 'Genetic screening of embryos should be celebrated and not feared'.

A panel of judges including Frank Furedi, Professor of sociology at the University of Kent, Paul Boateng, former British High Commissioner to South Africa and award-winning historian Tom Holland deemed the quartet the winners and awarded them £1000 worth of books.

Mr Anthony-Gardner was named the 'best individual' debater and won a pair of tickets to the English National Opera, a kilo box of Casemir Chocolates, a year's subscription to Prospect magazine and an Encyclopaedia Brittanica world atlas.

He said: "I love the interaction and openness the Debating Matters format allows. It gives you a real chance to challenge other teams in a way which other styles of debating simply don't."