Our pupils were well prepared for this competition through our school’s curriculum with its robust and continued focus on debating and P4C. The pupils worked hard in the lead up to the event and we commend their work ethic. They utilised their skills of structuring an argument, persuasive language and rhetoric as they each prepared their speeches and rebuttals, ready for the competition.
After some warm-up games, the first debate with our team involved them proposing the motion ‘This house would welcome robots into our homes’. Arseniy made a great opening speech, speaking clearly and confidently. Derin gave clear and convincing rebuttals to the first speaker of the opposition, and Esther-Marie raised some pertinent questions from the floor during the floor debate. Riyadh rounded off the debate as summary speaker, concluding concisely and responding to questions from the floor on behalf of the team. When it came to the vote from the floor, the pupils were delighted to have convinced the house, with the motion being passed in their favour.
The second round focused on unprepared debates, which required each team to organise themselves and come up with their arguments and examples with 20 minutes of preparation time. Our pupils worked exceptionally well together, and we were extremely proud of their maturity and insightfulness in the way they assigned the roles amongst themselves, based on each others’ strengths. They were not fazed by the requirement to oppose the motion that ‘All zoos should be banned’. Their geography lessons from last year came in useful, as the team made some convincing arguments regarding the role of zoos in: animal rehabilitation; protection of endangered species; education of the wider public. Everyone in the team did a superb job of speaking clearly, raising and responding to points of information with determination, and rebutting what were some very strong arguments from the proposition. Our pupils were rightly proud when the floor vote returned a rejection of the motion, signalling that they had, again, convinced the floor of their arguments.
Hopes were high after the judges revealed that our team had officially won both of our morning debates. We then waited with baited breath for the naming of the finalists. Unfortunately, we were just pipped to the post and did not make the final. Although disappointed, the pupils felt, rightly, very proud of their efforts.
Arseniy (5H) – ‘I’m really proud of myself and our team. We worked well raising points of information and assigning roles for each other.’
Derin (6W) – ‘Our team got along really well and helped each other with ideas. The effort we put into our preparation before we went to the competition paid off and was worthwhile.’
Esther-Marie (6W) – ‘My highlight was going on stage to debate because at first I was really nervous, but once I did it I felt proud. Our team communicated well with each other, which helped us win, I think.’
Riyadh (5H) – ‘We worked well together, coming up with ideas for our points. I recommend debating because it is really enjoyable and improves your knowledge and is fun’.