A Great Debate

On Tuesday 21 January, Ellie Roberts (13Wilson) and Daisy Watson (12Wilson) were successful in progressing to the Regional Finals of the ESU Schools’ Mace debating competition. They opposed the motion ‘This house regrets the commercialisation of Pride.’ Both spoke eloquently on the subject and were praised in particular for their emotive and sensitive approach to a divisive topic. Overcoming accomplished opposition teams from St Swithun’s School and Winchester College, they will go with The Portsmouth Grammar School to the next stage of the competition, after which, if they prove successful again, they will compete in the National Final.

On Thursday 23 January, Iona Hamilton (9Story), Ben Meaby (10Ridgeway), and Olivia Toms (11Story) participated in the ESU Public Speaking Competition. Despite the short notice in getting a team together, the students showed incredible resolve against a highly talented range of teams, including Bedales School, Ditcham Park School, Christ’s Hospital, and Churcher’s College. Ben spoke on the subject of ‘We get the politicians we deserve’ and, while only having a week to prepare, spoke enthusiastically and in an approachable and confident style. In this competition, students are placed with a speaker from an opposing school in order to test their oracy skills in a spontaneous context. So, as Chair and Questioner respectively, Iona and Olivia teamed up with a speaker from Bedales School. Iona managed the proceedings in a calm and measured manner, while Olivia was constructive in her questioning style, working hard to understand more about the Bedales speaker’s opinions on the subject of ‘Written examinations should be abandoned in favour of continuous assessments’. All three students were a credit to Bishop Luffa School and, while they did not progress to the next round on this occasion, they learnt a great deal about speaking in public.

Well done to all those who have competed this week in public speaking and debating competitions. The second round of the Rotary Club’s Youth Debate competition, in which Iona Hamilton (9Story), Tess Langford (9Wilson), and Holly Bentley (9Wilson) will participate, is taking place on Tuesday 11th February at Downlands Community School from 6pm. An update on their progress will follow in due course. Please do wish them luck as they prepare for the next round.

If you are interested in joining the Bishop Luffa Public Speaking and Debating Society, please do come along to E7 during Friday lunchtimes.

Mr S Finniear, Teacher of English

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