Two more Finals for TBSHS Debaters

ESU Mace Region Final & ICYD

Two more Finals for TBSHS Debaters

Just two years after a TBSHS team finished as national runners-up in the English Speaking Union Mace, another trio of our debaters has won the Eastern Region final of this prestigious competition, once again placing TBSHS in the top dozen schools in England, who go on to compete at Finals’ Day later this term. In addition, the school will be represented by at least one team on Finals’ Day of the International Competition for Young Debaters

ESU Mace Regional Final

Speaking against a team from the Hertfordshire & Essex High School, who hosted the event, Year 13 students Tom Millar, Georgi Petkov and Toby Ford had to oppose the motion “This House would only imprison individuals who pose a direct and ongoing risk to society”. Espousing the utilitarian doctrine of the greatest good of the greatest number, Tom argued that the wellbeing of the majority of society mattered more than that of prisoners. He highlighted the practical flaws of the motion, pointing out that his opponents would be happy to see 25000 criminals convicted of theft let loose, increasing the fear of crime in society and making it more difficult for them to receive the rehabilitation, through education, that they need. He also made an effective case for the deterrent effect of imprisonment.

Georgi supported Tom’s first argument, pointing out that the financial savings claimed by the Proposition would be outweighed by the cost of the extra policing and supervision of alternatives sentences such as community service. He went on to explain that the difficult decisions about who would pose a future risk to society would be made by Establishment figures, leading to greater inequality, decreased respect for the rule of law and a consequent rise in the number of first-time offenders. After a brief floor debate, Toby delivered an excellent summary speech, arguing that, even if it does not always happen at present, imprisonment provides a greater potential for rehabilitation. He also explained why implementing the motion would not represent justice, especially for victims of crime and he stressed the importance of the interests of those who have committed no crime.

Teams representing Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, from Suffolk, Southend High School for Boys, Gresham’s School from Norfolk and Frances Bardsley Academy for Girls, Romford, were involved in the other two debates of the evening. The ESU judge praised all the teams for correctly identifying and prioritising core issues as well as engaging well with the audience. He said that the overall standard of debating was very high and the final scores were extremely close, but TBSHS just won the day because of the strength of their well-evidenced arguments and the way that they put them across.

Team coach, retired teacher Tony Fraser commented, “The debate against Herts & Essex was hard-fought and passionate, just like a good local derby match in any sport. Our thanks to them for providing such good opposition and for making all the schools involved so welcome. Toby, Georgi & Tom have all worked incredibly hard and have developed considerably as speakers this year. They will be very busy in the next few weeks, especially Georgi & Toby, who have also qualified for International Finals Day at the Cambridge University Union”

International Competition for Young Debaters

Four TBSHS teams travelled to the Cambridge Union for four gruelling rounds of debating in the regional heat of ICYD, a competition limited to students from Year 10 and below.

The first motion of the day “This House Would Impose 100% Inheritance Tax” had been released to all competitors a week before, giving them a chance to research this complex topic.

Year 8 students Thomas Leung & Dan Carlin, making their interschool debuts in a format that was new to them, had to open the case for the motion in their room. Understandably nervous at first, they gained in confidence as the debate went on and were awarded a very encouraging second place.

Also opening their debate and watched by their German Exchange partners, Barnaby Nicholson & Elliot Lavergne (Year 10) gained a third place, as did Alec Sneddon (Year 9) & J J Sathan (Year 10), who spoke first against the motion. James Frans & Kashan Johar, who closed their debate started off with an unfortunate fourth place.

An early lunch seemed to fortify our teams after this rather disappointing beginning. Kashan & James spoke first in favour of banning influencers from including children in their content. Their well-structured speeches focussed mainly on the opportunities for abuse afforded to unscrupulous viewers of social media and the consequent effects on children, both in the short term and the long. They also engaged very well with their opponents’ arguments, which helped them achieve a win over the Perse School, a Southend grammar school and a team that had travelled all the way from Shropshire.

Elliot & Barnaby, opening against the motion, were placed first in their room, with J J & Alec a close second behind them, having spoken second for the motion. In a very close result, Dan & Thomas were second again, despite having to speak last against two teams from Berkhamsted School and one from Oundle.

Considerably cheered by this great set of results, our teams tackled the idea of imposing a BBC-style impartiality requirement on all news platforms with gusto. Elliot opened his debate by arguing that this would lead to a reduction in hate speech, an argument never countered by his opponents. This point, and Barnaby’s observations about impartiality raising trust in, and status of, news platforms were enough to give them another first place. Please include photos of Elliot & Barnaby here. Alec & J J, also speaking first in their room, were placed second, while James & Kashan continued their winning streak, having closed the case for the motion and Thomas & Dan, the only TBSHS team to oppose, picked up a third.