Well done to all three of our debating teams who were in fighting form this week. The standard was set by the junior team who travelled to London on Tuesday. They had a fantastic start to their debating careers and won the unprepared debate. On the same evening the upper school team had amazing successes in the English Speaking Union, winning both Best Chairperson and Best Questioner. Additionally Team One triumphantly progressed to the next round which takes place this evening. On Wednesday, the Sixth Formers Debating Club bravely entered the challenging Oxford Senior Schools debating competition and received excellent feedback from the Oxford undergraduate judges. Overall, the girls felt that this professional event was a fantastic and confidence-boosting experience.
We are so proud of all the girls that took part in any of the debates and thank you to all the staff that supported them. More information on each individual event below.
London Debating League – 30 January
Mrs Parr reports
‘The Junior Debate Team shared a successful and enjoyable evening at the London Junior Debating League which took place at More House School, Knightsbridge on Tuesday 30 January. Mrs Farr reports ‘We swept to victory against Francis Holland as opposition for the unprepared motion ‘This house believes that women have not achieved equality in the Western World.’ First Formers Robyn, Freya and Sophie gave outstanding performances in their second public debate and were praised for their confident arguments and delivery. Our other debate team had the challenge of arguing the difficult motion that the voting age should be reduced to 11 years of age in the prepared debate and, although it was close, unfortunately lost this debate. Despite this, it was a personal victory for First Formers Emily, Lily and Norah as it was their debating debut. The atmosphere on the journey home was full of joy and left Mrs Olive wondering whether she was driving the debate team or a pop choir. The girls are all looking forward to their next ‘debate off’ in March.’
English Speaking Union – 30 January
Mrs McGarry reports
‘With a certain amount of fear, excitement and trepidation, our two teams of public speakers arrived at Farnborough Hill for the first round of Public Speaking. Having no experience, and with only a few lunchtime clubs and a video under their belt, they managed to prepare two speeches. Team One’s topic was ‘Is the fact that we are reading more important than the quality of what we are reading?’ Imogen wrote and delivered a well-researched and eloquent speech and responded brilliantly to questions poised.
Team Two had the tricky subject of ‘Do we really want to live to 100?’ where Natasha controversially suggested many reasons why this might not be the best way forward for society.
Both teams conducted themselves with great aplomb. Huge congratulation to Emily who was awarded Best Chairperson and Anna who was awarded Best Questioner.
Team One are now through to the next round which takes place in Guildford on Friday.
Our huge thanks and congratulations go to the entire team of Fifth Formers – Imogen, Anna, Emily, Natasha, Lucy and Emma (and not forgetting our trusty cheerleader Tatiana). Katie and Hannah in the Sixth Form also need a mention for their help with research and speech writing.
Watch this space!’
Debating : Oxford Senior Schools – 31 January
Mrs Morwood reports
‘Lotti and Mari were the brave souls from our newly formed lower Sixth Form Debating Society who volunteered to represent the school at the Oxford Senior Schools debating competition. This event is not for the faint hearted, as there were over 40 teams taking part in two rounds of British Parliamentary style debate over a very long evening. The motions generated energetic argument, and our girls were quick to take up the challenge and participate in the cut and thrust of this lively but very demanding event. While we did not get selected for finals day, the girls did brilliantly and most importantly enjoyed themselves! This event is the one of the key events in the debating calendar and is run by Oxford undergraduates; the judging and the feedback they offered the teams was excellent and it was clear to those watching that our girls took on this advice and as a result continued to grow in confidence throughout the evening. Exposure to this type of event is vital in equipping our girls to be leaders of the future and it’s so good to see how our school society is growing and flourishing. A big thanks too to Martha who came along as an essential part of the team providing support and advice on the evening.’