Upper Sixth students Johnny, Megan and Hashim update us on recent debating competition.
Oxford Schools’ Debating Competition (National Finalists),
The South London heat was held in conjunction with the South-East heat at Dulwich College, on 3 March. Myself and Max debated two motions; ‘This House would disallow members of Parliament and their families from using private health care and private education’ and ‘This House regrets the widespread expectation that children be grateful to their parents’. For the first motion we were opening opposition and for the second we were opening government. In the first and second motions our main feedback was to focus our debate on practical examples and to balance it with discussion of ideals and philosophy, as it is easier to communicate and win on a practical point than a philosophical one, and it can make us look as though we are skirting the opposition.
The schools that progressed to the Finals Day at Oxford Union were:
- Beneden School – Team 2
- Dulwich College – Team 2
- Dulwich College – Team 3
- Eltham College – Team 1
- The King’s School, Canterbury – Team 1
- The King’s School, Canterbury – Team 2
- The King’s School, Canterbury – Team 3
- King’s College School (Wimbledon) – Team 2
- King’s College School (Wimbledon) – Team 3
- Sevenoaks School – Team 1
- Sevenoaks School – Team 2
- Sevenoaks School – Team 3
- Sevenoaks School – Team 4
- Whitgift School – Team 1
Cambridge Schools’ Debating Competition (North London Heat)
On Saturday 15 February two of our debate teams, myself and Theo along with Michael and Uzo, competed in the Cambridge Union Schools’ Debating Competition at Kingsbury High School. All the debates gave us the opportunity to refine our own team dynamics whilst also learning from other participants. Our first motion, that we proposed, was ‘This House would ban all animal testing’. In our second debate, we proposed the motion ‘This House would require elected politicians and their families to use only services provided by the state’ which was my favourite debate of the day. Thirdly, we opposed the motion ‘This House believes that the media should show the full horrors of war’. Our fourth and final debate, was ‘This House would require the state to compensate individuals who face criminal prosecution that are later not found guilty’ which was a remarkably interesting debate. The competition gave us an insight into the art of external debating which will prove very valuable for upcoming competitions and for this we are all very grateful.
English Speaking Union’s MACE Debating Competition (East London Finalists)
On 2 March the debating team travelled to Camden School for the East London Regional Final. At this stage of the competition the winners of the regional rounds had progressed, so it was an evening filled with excellent debating teams. Eltham College proposed the motion ‘This house would introduce a Universal Basic Income’ against Alexandra Park School, whilst we were also in indirect competition with four other debating teams. Speakers in the debate John, Max and Hashim made compelling social and economic arguments on why a Universal Basic Income is not only desirable but essential, with John effectively drawing upon the Beveridge report in order to make his case. Only one team could make it through to the national finals and in the end the judge adjudicated that team was Camden School for Girls. Whilst we did not make it through to the national final, taking part in the competition has nonetheless been an incredibly enriching experience in which all speakers have had the chance to develop their critical reasoning skills in order to advance cogent arguments whilst also developing desirable oratory skills. We wish Camden School for Girls every success in the final!