17th March 22
Six members of Year 8 were warmly welcomed to an inter-school debate at Vinehall School on Tuesday afternoon, kindly organised by Emily Platt, Head of English, after just one term of our debating teams meeting at school once a week to develop arguments on a range of topics.
After a practice debate in which Sarah and Yagiz (8F) enjoyed forming rebuttals and persevering with their points for why we should all become vegans, students on both sides organised themselves into teams of three, each team comprised of two speakers and a chair, before preparing for two formal debates in quick succession. These were judged by Paul Borrows, Deputy Head and Head of Humanities at Vinehall School, with input from me and Emily Platt, Head of English.
The motions were on a range of topics but our Claremont team was arguably in the tougher debating position on both occasions, having been tasked to be the opposition for the motion: ‘Mobile phones should be banned in school’ and to make the proposition for ‘Teachers should be replaced by robots’. Nonetheless, all the students worked together to come up with the best arguments and some successful rebuttals were made by Sarah, Buckley, Yagiz and Jack, which was fantastic!
Mr Borrows, our arbiter for the day, decided that Vinehall had the edge in both debates – and the host school were proclaimed the winners. However, two of our Year 8 team were commended for their speaking skills, Jack G and Sarah B, who each received a fun medal.
We never miss an opportunity to learn! After the first formal debate, Mr Borrows suggested to both teams that, while preparing, they should work together to prioritise the strongest arguments and, when speaking, they should use discourse markers to sequence their ideas. Amazingly, in the very next debate our students put the feedback into practice, recapping on their competitors’ points and sequencing their ideas using discourse markers! Firstly… Secondly… Finally… I was very proud of them! We have some areas of focus for getting better ahead of the next debate, which we hope will take place at Claremont! More news will follow in due course!
Head of English and Humanities