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Success for Warwick School Debaters

On Thursday, 17 November, teams of Warwick School senior debaters participated in the first rounds of the English Speaking Union MACE Competition and the English Speaking Union Churchill Public Speaking Competition. As the fixtures were held online, the top floor of Thornton Building was a hub of activity with our three well-prepared teams competing in their different fixtures.

Our MACE debaters were: Atticus, Will and Arjan, who were competing together for the first time as a team. As theirs was a prepared debate, ahead of the day, Atticus, Will and Arjan had thoroughly researched and drafted their proposing arguments in favour of the motion: This House would ban the sale and consumption of red meat.

By presenting a convincing mechanism for setting this motion in action and by eloquently presenting arguments founded on ‘incontestable logic’, the Warwick School team were told they were the ‘runaway winners of the heat’ as well as being one of four teams to qualify for the next round of the competition.

Our debaters were also thanked for participating in an additional debate on the night as a swing team, since another competing school was absent. Atticus, Will and Arjan argued for the opposition for this debate with no preparation or research time, but were nonetheless praised for their intuitions and their excellent teamwork. Their participation also meant that the school that they debated against got the chance to compete.

While the MACE was running, Year 10 and Year 11 debaters were competing in the ESU Public Speaking Competition.

The format of this competition is particularly challenging. Pupils had to work in a team of three, taking on the roles of Chairperson, Speaker and Questioner. While our Speakers could prepare and learn speeches for the competition, they still had to answer questions on these for six minutes. In addition to this, each team is split in the competition, as the Chair and Questioner have to work with the Speaker from a different school on a topic that they have not prepared. As a result, we had debaters spread out in different rooms along the top floor of Thornton Building, all working hard to deliver their best to contribute to their team’s overall score.

Despite the tricky online format of the competition, which makes all roles harder to execute, our pupils performed superbly. Both Speakers, Freddie and Ptolemy spoke in an informed and animated way on their chosen topics, which for Freddie was, ‘Prisoners should not have the right to vote.’ Ptolemy spoke on the topic of the harms of 24-hour news. They both presented compelling and entertaining arguments, taking strong stances on the issues. Freddie drew analogies to life at school, while also discussing the significance of prisoners having broken the ‘Social Contract’. Ptolemy discussed the potential pitfalls of misinformation and the falling standards of news provision.

Our Year 11 team of Freddie and Ryan performed brilliantly. Impressively, they have qualified for the next round of the competition. Our Year 10 team of Thomas, James and Ptolemy did an excellent job too, with Ptolemy being named ‘top speaker’ for the round. While they did not make the break for the next round, they are ready and warmed up for the next competitions of the season.

All in all, it was an outstanding start to the debating competition season with some stand-out performances and excellent form from our pupils. We look forward to seeing Warwick School debaters progress to the second rounds of both competitions and to another busy and exciting year of competition debating.