Upper School Debating Society

Thursday 16 September 2021

“This house believes that conspiracy theorists should be banned from facebook and twitter.”

Mr Brown spoke in favour of the motion with Christen against.

The first debate of the year was held on Thursday 16 September. Eloise took the chair as Mr Brown and Christen discussed the motion “This house believes that conspiracy theorists should be banned from facebook and twitter.” The audience were initially entirely hostile to Mr Brown’s proposal, but his arguments ultimately persuaded many of them, and, in a defeat for the right to free speech, the motion was carried.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

"This house believes that the royal family needs Meghan Markle."

Reli spoke in favour of the motion with Eloise against.

This Wednesday, in a change from the published title, the Upper School Debating Society met to discuss the motion that: “This house believes that the royal family needs Meghan Markle.” Attendance was high for this final debate of the year. The chair noted his gratitude to Antonia for organising the society so well this year, to wild applause from the floor. Reli then proposed the motion and Eloise opposed. It was a complex motion, and there was no correlation between one view or the other and the royalists or the republicans in the room. In the end, and in spite of inspiring rhetoric from Reli that was reminiscent of ‘Notting Hill’, Eloise persuaded the audience that the royal family will carry on getting on just fine without Meghan.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

"This house believes that the UK History Curriculum is too whitewashed and should be reformed."

Reuben spoke against the motion as did Mr Sandell.

This week's debate was an odd one. The proposer of the motion ("This house believes that the UK History Curriculum is too whitewashed and should be reformed.") discovered a diary clash. Mr Sandell was subbed in as emergency replacement, but could not be persuaded to speak against his own, beloved, subject. So, we had two speeches in opposition to the motion, and the audience took on the proposer's role with some tricky questions that shook the speakers' resolve at times. Both spoke with eloquence, passion and focus. However, in the end, the views of our absent speaker prevailed, and the motion was carried by a large majority.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

“This week’s motion was “This house believes that all new buildings should require a net-0 gas emissions rate.”

Izzy spoke in favour of the motion with Hal against.

Both presenting well-informed and well-organised arguments to a full to socially distanced capacity William Dauntsey Room.  It all boiled down to a choice between the perfect and the good. The final vote suggested that there are plenty of idealists left and the motion was carried by a strong majority.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

“This house believes that the over 70s should not be allowed to vote.”

Reli spoke in favour of the motion with Lara against.

This week, Reli and Lara debated the motion, “This house believes that the over 70s should not be allowed to vote.” Reli, speaking in favour, persuaded an initially hostile audience to her way of thinking. Lara, although she spoke with considerable merit and much honour, did not prove so convincing to her voters. So, Grannies are disenfranchised and the kids are united. Who’s next? We were left to wonder.

Wednesday 03 February 2021

“This house believes that on-Earth laws should apply to celestial exploration.”

Christen spoke in favour of the motion with Reuben against.

The house was asked to imagine the colonisation of Mars and the mining of Neptune among other potential future expansions of human territory. The question hinged on the question of who would have control over any of these positions. Both speakers were well-versed in the subject and in history, drawing useful parallels to colonialism. Reuben’s arguments proved the stronger, convincing many in the audience to change their minds, and ultimately winning the day.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

“This house believes that buildings named after slave traders should be re-named.”

Antonia spoke in favour of the motion with William against.

Antonia and William led the first electronic debate of the society’s history. We had a good audience on teams, and they were treated to two spectacular speeches about the motion: “This house believes that buildings named after slave traders should be re-named.” Opinion was almost evenly divided at the start, but William changed a few minds and won the argument against the motion.

Wednesday 18 November

“This house believes that pensioners should no longer be allowed access to NHS free health care.”

Izzy spoke in favour of the motion with Max against.

The Debating Society convened to discuss the radical motion: “This house believes that pensioners should no longer be allowed access to NHS free health care.” All but one of the audience were initially repulsed by the idea, but Izzy's subtle arguments won a few over to some version of it. Max opposed with sound economic facts and plenty of comparative data. The motion was defeated, but only by the narrowest of margins. Pensioners beware!

Wednesday 11 November

“This house believes that government representatives should resign if they have acted immorally.”

Freya spoke in favour of the motion with Hal against.

Most of the audience agreed with Freya at the start of the debate that they should. However, Hal's case that “immoral” was a subjective word and that moral standards were applied inconsistently throughout history and in varied spheres of activity won many round to his view. There were many excellent questions and the debate became emotionally charged at times. In the end, the motion was carried, but by only one vote!

Wednesday 07 October

“This house believes that caffeine should be classed as an illegal recreational drug in the UK.”

Eloise spoke in favour of the motion with Wilbur against.

In devastating news for the school’s tea and coffee lovers, the senior debating society passed this week’s motion, almost unanimously. In a spectacular reversal, Eloise persuaded an initially sceptical audience that “This house believes that caffeine should be classed as an illegal recreational drug in the UK.” Wilbur fought passionately on behalf of the nation’s caffeine addicts, but Eloise’s command of the facts was not to be overcome. An anxious chair asked how to overcome his own addiction to caffeine: cold turkey.