TBSHS Speakers Compete in London

Three Competitions for the Debating Team

Imperial College

The first of three competitions held at universities in London required a very early start for all our speakers, but by 8:30 am on a cold Saturday morning, all four TBSHS speakers and their coach had checked in for four rounds of debating at Imperial College for our first ‘in person’ competition of 2023.

All the motions, which covered the rise of social media as a primary news source, strikes in the public sector, removing gender-based award categories in the Arts and making development aid dependent on good human rights practices, proved to be accessible and appropriate to the speakers involved. The standard of debating was high, with teams from St Paul’s Girls and Eton dominating the final results tables.

The TBSHS teams of Max Porter & Rohan Rana (Year 13) and Henry Aylett & Lewis Ng (Year 11) did not enjoy the best of luck in some of the judgements that they received. Both teams achieved their best results in the second round, where they were drawn in the same room and formed the whole ‘opening half’ of the debate. Speaking first in favour of banning public sector workers from striking, Speaking confidently, as he did all day, Henry defined the terms of the motion and argued that such strikes generate a rift in society and civil unrest They are, he said, therefore unpopular and damage the workers’ cause. In a well-structured speech, Max responded by pointing out that strikes are newsworthy and increase public awareness on poor working conditions as well as low pay. He also referred to the power of the employee, adding that better working conditions and pay result in happier, healthier workers who deliver a better service. Lewis began with some useful rebuttal. Then, stressing the moral aspects of the motion, he observed that, as well as rights, workers have responsibilities to the users of their services, who suffer harm to their health and education through strikes. He described strike action on such circumstances as “blackmail”. Rohan described public sector strikes as “a last resort for workers when all other tactics have failed” and added that they cause much soul-searching for those involved. He went on to dismiss the idea that the workers are not forced to stay in their jobs by decrying the loss of highly-trained professionals to emigration or different jobs. The other two teams in the debate represented King’s School Canterbury and South Hampstead High School, both independent schools worth a good record in this sort of competition, so Lewis & Henry can feel very pleased with their first place in this debate, while Rohan & Max were only just edged out of second place.

Henry & Lewis gained a second place in the last round and finished 35th out of 48 teams, with Max & Rohan not far behind. This was a tough competition for our speakers- Henry and Max were both representing TBSHS for the first time and none of them had competed for the school in person before.


London School of Economics & Political Science