Senior School Debating

26th February 2013

This year saw the successful launch of the Senior School Debating competition. The event saw two separate inter-house debates: Rothchild-Pearce vs. Mann-Summerville and Thomas Sharman vs Knight Heaths. The students involved rose to the challenge and produced well-researched and thought provoking ideas in response to two fascinating motions.

First up was RP v MS. Rothchild-Pearce proposed the motion, “This House believes there is too much assessment of children in Secondary Education”. Lydia Crosher delivered an erudite, well-considered opening speech that impressed the audience and the judge, Mr Fountain. Lydia was opposed by David Newman, who did a good job presenting the counter-argument. More impressive speeches followed, intersected by a fascinating floor debate that saw many intelligent questions put forward from the audience. The issues were well summarised by both teams, and when it came to the vote there was a majority in favour of the motion.

The second and final debate was Thomas-Sharman’s motion, “This House believes that technology is detrimental to young people”. Beginning with a PowerPoint presentation (!), Oliver Capp provided a very strong and entertaining proposition speech. Thea Barrett came back with an equally good counter-argument, although Kathryn Cutler-McKenzie dazzled the audience and judge with a near-perfect Second Opposition speech. The summary speakers impressed with two neat summations; however, it was the floor debate that really got things going, with excellent comments and responses being fired back and forth. In the end, Knight-Heath deservedly won the battle (especially after some questionable tactics from TS).

My thanks must go to the two teams who did a formidable job of public speaking, which is no easy task in front of one’s peers. I would also like to thank those students who took part in the audience, who were as equally impressive with their mature and intelligent contributions. Of course, debates need a strong chairperson, and both Sean Moore (12TS) and Lauren Smith (12MS) did a fantastic job of maintaining order and timing.

Finally, I would like to thank Mr Fountain for giving up his time and doing a tremendous job of judging the event. His notes and supporting comments really flagged up the strengths of the speakers and summed up the overall quality of the event.


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