This week we turned our attention towards 'Evidence' - how to assemble/find it? What to trust? What to look for from various news/media outlets, not least in an age of 'fake news' and with social media. We encouraged students to ask questions of the information out there and to look at as wide an array of news coverage - to provide balance.
We also discussed the idea of whether 'truth' should be regulated and how best to review or even 'police' social media companies.
We then turned to a warm-up question:
1. If you were Prime Minister what would be your top priority? This led to a fascinating array of different options and plans - from helping to tackle homelessness, to housebuilding more generally, more green spaces, assisting with energy bills, cleaning up the streets, better roads, to global affairs and mediating in international conflicts, to improving the NHS, to changing the structure of the school week to reducing homework.
For our newsround we looked at events in the Yemen and the Red Sea and the Post Office Scandal.
The group voted overwhelmingly in support of finding an urgent solution to set the record 'clean' for those with wrongful convictions, but was nevertheless split as to whether this should be a Parliamentary law or a Judicial option.
For our main debates we split into proposition and opposition with a focus on the motions:
(i) 'This House would give Reading more Lesson time'.
It was great to see so many challenged to think of points against their own view/main argument and the centre of the debate rested on widening knowledge, improving exam performance against time for extra-curricular activities and other subjects such as coding or mathematics.
(ii) 'This House supports the bombing campaign of the US, UK and allies in the Yemen against the Houthi rebels'.
Here in our club session, the group was divided on whether this would escalate the situation, but nevertheless felt that something had to be done to preserve the safety of a global sea route in the Red Sea. We spent a good deal of the session explaining the difference between shipping routes and the potential impact on World Trade.
Well done all on such stimulating sessions!