Debating Team make it Five Years in a row

TBSHS Team through to the Eastern Region Final of the ESU Mace

Date published: Mon 21 Jan 2019   Author: HLH.ADF   Category: Publicity   Share: Share on facebookShare on TwitterShare on MySpaceShare by Email

TBSHS Debating Team Make it Five Years in a Row

For the fifth year in succession a team from the school has reached the Eastern Region Final of the ESU Mace, the oldest and most prestigious debating competition for British schools.

Last week George Hobart (Year 13) and Scott Lockie (Year 12) travelled to the Perse School in Cambridge to take on five other teams. The first debate of the night, “This house would boycott the works of artists who have committed morally reprehensible acts”, between Heritage School and a ‘swing team’ from our hosts, was a rather low-key affair on an admittedly difficult motion.

This was followed by The Perse School proposing “This house would prohibit businesses from taking a public position on social issues” against Westcliff High School for Boys, a grammar school with a strong debating tradition. As in the previous round, the Proposition performed very well, speaking fluently and putting forward a strong case, much of which focussed on the argument that businesses only act in their own interests.  Westcliff, whose first speaker spoke at breakneck speed, argued that implementing the motion would stifle the necessary open public debate of social issues, but were less convincing than the Perse speakers, especially in countering their opponents’ points.     

The final debate of the night saw TBSHS taking on Chelmsford County High School, another grammar school. Our opponents proposed the motion that “This house believes that no essential service should be provided on a for-profit basis”. After defining essential services in a manner that suited our case well, Chelmsford’s first speaker spoke passionately and at length about the NHS and privatised water companies. In reply George pointed out that the motion covered all essential services and cited the provision of food as an essential service that could not be run on a no-profit basis. He then went onto explain the benefits of for-profit business – competition, investment and incentives, challenging the Proposition to explain which of these benefits they would not want for essential services. The second proposer produced effective counters for some, but not all, of these arguments and went on to discuss the rail network and, briefly, the police service. In response, Scott repeated the argument that the quality of essential services is more important than who provides them. He also explained that, as the scope of essential services is so great and the demand for them is always increasing, funding them from Government sources would require major increases in taxation. He finished by explaining the drawbacks of state monopolies – inefficiency, inflexibility and resistance to change.  After a lively floor debate, George gave a satisfactory summary speech, refuting points from the audience and restating the Opposition case.

Three teams were scheduled to go through to the Regional Final and the adjudicator announced that these would be The Perse (by general agreement the best team of the round), Chelmsford County High and TBSHS. George and Scott were praised for the range of their arguments, as well as the structure of their speeches and the way that they delivered them. I felt that they deserved to progress, but it was a ‘close-run thing’ and there are certainly some areas for improvement.

Congratulations and many thanks to Scott & George for the time and hard work that they put into preparing for the debate (George’s mock exams only ended two days beforehand) and also to Sam Redgewell, who came along to support them and made an effective floor speech.

All three students were excellent ambassadors for the school.