High School Debating Sucesses


Date published: Thu 8 Feb 2018   Author: HLH/ADF   Category: Publicity   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email


Teams of TBSHS speakers have enjoyed success in two recent competitions.  In the English Speaking Union’s Mace competition, Year 13 students Charles Lockie and Tiegan Meadows have reached the Regional Final – the fourth successive year that the school has progressed to this stage of the oldest and most prestigious schools’ competition. In the first debate of the night New Hall School (Chelmsford) proposed the motion “This House Would Allow Upper Rate Taxpayers to Redirect a Significant Proportion of Their Taxes to Charities of Their Choice”, with TBSHS opposing. Although not at the top of their form, Tiegan and Charles worked well as a team and had the better of this debate, employing some clever arguments about the exclusive nature of the motion and the uncertainty of revenue for both public spending and charities that it would bring.

The next debate, “This House believes that everyone should have the right to wear religious symbols at work”, was generally acclaimed to be the best of the night. The first speaker for the Proposition, from The Perse School (Cambridge) confidently put forward a strong case, but their second speaker was less impressive. However, Westcliff High School for Boys, opposing, gave a very strong performance throughout and were clearly the best team of the night.

Finally, Becket Keys School (Brentwood) and St Thomas More High School (Southend) debated “This House would prohibit the media from using software to cosmetically improve an individual's appearance” keenly, but the arguments employed were perhaps rather less sophisticated than those in the earlier debates. The rules of the competition stipulate that 2 teams from this tie go through to the Regional Final and, to nobody’s surprise Westcliff High School were placed first, with TBSHS just edging out the Perse School for second. Congratulations to Charles and Tiegan and many thanks to the students and teachers who came to support them.

The previous Sunday, the biggest squad to ever represent the school at a debating competition gathered at Epping Tube station before 8:00 am to travel to London’s School of Oriental and African Studies for a really ‘full on’ day of competition, featuring some of the top debating schools in London and the South East, including Eton, Westminster, St Paul’s and Dulwich. Our five teams all fought their way through four rounds of fierce debate, with motions involving the abolition of private healthcare, the creation of feminist political parties, the right of states to censor content on social media websites in return for access, and the pros and cons of politicians using religion as part of their election campaigns.

The pick of the TBSHS teams comprised two students in their first debating competition, Leah Bartram (Year 12) & Millie Mitchell (Year 13), who finished in 36th place out of 80 teams. However every one of our speakers spoke well, showing good organisation and a cheerful determination to win. Boyd Dunster (Year 11) & George Hobart (Year 12), who came 48th, Scott Lockie (Year 11) & Tiegan Meadows (Year 13), Harry Rogers (Year 12) & James Gor (year 11) and Alex Suspiro (Year 12) & Bethan Leret (Year 13) all gained a first or second place in at least one debate. Of the 26 Novice (first year of competition debating) teams Bethan & Alex finished a very creditable 15th and Millie & Leah achieved an excellent fifth place.  However, as one of the teams above them had to leave at 7:00 pm, they progressed to the Novices’ Final, where they had to defend research aimed at creating sentient artificial intelligence. A team from St Paul’s Girls School won the debate, but our speakers, supported by Tiegan, were by no means outclassed by any of their opponents.


This was a very long day (the last of us reached Epping at 10:15 pm)  but our speakers were excellent ambassadors for the school and will hopefully have benefited a lot from taking part in a really high-class event. They gave of their best throughout and were extremely good company. Congratulations and many thanks to them and to Mr Patterson, who gave up his Sunday to support them as well as driving the minibus between school and Epping.