Family Night and ESU Award Round Off A Great Year’s Debating
The last debating event of the Summer Term was a Family Debate Night, held in the Library on a very hot evening.
The first debate saw Max Porter (Year 12) and Mr Porter propose the motion “This House Would rather be a wolf than a sheep”, opposed by Oliver Worthy (Year 11) and Mr Worthy.
All four speakers spoke confidently, demonstrating good teamwork and extensive research, which provoked a lively floor debate from a good-sized audience of teachers, current & former students and their families. When it came to an audience vote, a clear majority decided that they had been more convinced by the Proposition arguments about freedom and individuality.
After much-appreciated refreshment, it was time for the teachers to take on the students in an ESU Mace-style debate. The latter, represented by Finn Lihoreau, William Worthy & Elliot Wood had opted to propose the motion “This House Would abolish state funding of the Arts” – something of a surprise as Finn has obtained a place at drama school!
They based their case primarily on economic arguments, saying that individual and corporate donors would be more likely to offer support if they knew that the Arts could not rely on state funding. In contrast, the speakers for the teachers, all of whom had helped to coach their opponents in the past, concentrated on the value of the Arts to society and the comparatively miniscule percentage of Government funding that they receive. As in the previous debate, it was general agreed that the standard of speaking was very high, with the teachers – Miss Davies (making a welcome return to TBSHS), Mr Fraser & Mr Patterson- recording a comfortable victory in the floor vote.
This debate marked the end of another very successful year’s debating and, sadly, the swansong of a remarkably talented group of Year 13 students. No fewer than seven members of the ‘Class of 22’ have represented the school in at least one (and in several cases 3 or 4) international /national Finals Days and have helped the school to establish a reputation as one of the strongest in the English state sector and in the East of the country as a whole. Their willingness to spend time researching and rehearsing speeches, their readiness to listen to and act on advice, and their good humour, both in victory and defeat, have made them a joy to work with.
Just before the new school year started, there was further good news. In a competition open to hundreds of schools all over the country, TBSHS is one of only 13 to receive a Highly Commended certificate in the English Speaking Union Oracy Culture Award. Oracy education develops students’ skills and confidence in communication, particularly with regards to speaking and listening.
Mr Reeve, commented, “It’s a great honour to receive this Oracy Award from the ESU; my thanks and congratulations go to all involved. I am sure the judges would have been impressed to read that, since last September, no fewer than 34 different students have represented TBSHS in nine separate debating or public speaking competitions. They present with great confidence and clarity, which is exactly how we are encouraging all our students to communicate. Our staff provide lots of extra-curricular debating and public speaking opportunities, to complement the excellent work that goes on in the classroom. With mobile phones and social media platforms now playing such a major part in the lives of young people, it’s so important to keep developing the quality of their spoken language.”