Well done to our Sixth Form debate club that has got through to the next rounds in two recent contests; the Schools’ Mace competition which is the oldest debate competition of its kind and Debating Matters, a newer format.
Sixth Formers Annie Tyagi and Samuel Ford represented Brooke Weston in the latest competition the English Speaking Union’s Schools’ Mace competition when they debated against students from Leicester Grammar School.
Teacher Mrs Smith said: ’It was very formal. The motions were given out by the English Speaking Union and they also decided which team would debate for or against the motion. Our team and Leicester Grammar went first and debated implementing diversity quotas on all BBC shows. The debate lasted for about half an hour and then, Mr Witt, who was the Chair, invited points from the floor. The final ten minutes was spent by the teams summarising their positions and they could choose to address additional points from the floor. After that the other schools, Oundle and Uppingham, debated that only violent criminals should go to prison and the structure followed the same format.
‘After the two debates the judges, Leela Koenig, head of speech and debate from the ESU and Dr Robin Pugsley, a retired Learning & Development professional, spent about 15 minutes deliberating. It was a very vigorous mark scheme with four strands; ‘points made and evidence’, ‘organisation and strategy’, ‘dealing with rebuttals and points of information from the other team’ and ‘delivery and presentation.’ Each team was scored out of 100 and so our team and the one from Leicester Grammar went through to the next round and we will be given our next motion by the end of term.
‘Annie and Sam were nervous beforehand but they did really well and had a good delivery. After the judge had given the verdicts she spoke to each of the students individually about their strengths and ways to improve. It was a bit theatrical and a really good evening.
‘Thanks must go to all those who took part, or helped to make the evening run so smoothly including Mrs Hibberd who was fabulous as our timekeeper and Mr Witt was a brilliant Chairman and kept the proceedings on track.’
Afterwards Annie said: 'It was one of the most challenging things I've tried, but I really enjoyed it and with more and more practice I think it'll be an invaluable skill.' Sam added: 'It was tough for us seeing as though it was our first debate of that format but the whole team worked really hard putting in constant research and practice. We get given the topic and what side we have to argue for so we never know what to expect or if we even agree personally with what we're saying so sometimes it's hard to make profound and convincing statements. The other schools made great points and it was impossible to say who would win but we're judged on lots of criteria so it was anybody's bet as to who would go through.We're looking forward to the next round and hoping for a gritty argument that we can all get behind again. We've all got our fingers crossed for further success in the competition this time round.'