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House Debating

House Debating
Karen Smith

School House wins 2021 House Debating

‘It is better to debate a question without settling it, than to settle a question without debating it.’ (Joubert)

Friday 5th February saw the annual House Debating Competition take place online. During the course of the evening over 200 pupils and staff tuned in to listen to several high quality debates.

We were honoured to welcome back Brian Jenner as our guest judge for the competition. Brian is the founder of the European Speechwriter Network, editor of a quarterly magazine ‘The Speechwriter’ and a previous winner of the prestigious Cicero award for speechwriting. Brian explained that he was looking for a speech that was not merely eloquent but one that was an effective call to action. One that made the audience feel and believe. It was his unenviable task to pick the most impassioned team of speakers.

All ten houses took part with teams of three speakers who went into a battle of words in five debates:

Topics and Competitors

Debate 1: This House Believes that Graffiti is Crime and not Art. 

Wimborne proposition: Milind, Amaia and Leo vs. 

Salisbury opposition: Aman, Lucy and Thomas


Debate 2: This House Believes that Guns Make America Strong. 

Franklin proposition: Henry, Josh and Luca vs. 

Lancaster opposition: Conor, Ben and Eliana


Debate 3: This House Believes that the Exam System is not Fit for Purpose. 

Monteacute proposition: Jocelin, Nat and Roman vs.

De Lacy opposition: Martha, Alice and Bee


Debate 4: This House Believes that Prison Should Be More Punitive than Educational. 

Court proposition: Arian, Rupert and Theo vs. 

Beaufort opposition: Loren, Alice and Agatha


Debate 5: This House Believes that Quotas will Redress Inequality in Society. 

School proposition: Magnus, Peter and Ethan vs.

Marriotts opposition: Varya, Nuala and Megan


Brian found the judging extremely difficult and commented on how much he had enjoyed listening to all the speakers.  Runners up were declared as Court and Beaufort in third and second, respectively. Verbally victorious were School House who Brian felt had the most consistent and coherent arguments across their team.

Headmaster Ben Vessey commented: ‘This was a great event and my thanks to you all for your commitment and engagement, and the courageous attitude you showed which made it such a success. Many congratulations on the way you worked together as a team to deliver and defend your case as strongly as possible. Tough at the best of times but perhaps tougher still via Teams. You can be proud of your efforts.’

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