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Knightsbridge Debating & Public Speaking (Enrichment programme) & Club - 22nd January



This week we continued with our coverage of key public speaking and debating skills, turning to the importance of conclusions - how to complete your argument on a positive note - and how to summarise the key points in a debate. We also looked at how to incorporate rhetorical questions into a conclusion/ending of a speech. 


On the back of Sir Michael Morpurgo's call for the Government to invest urgently in early years reading our warm-up questions involved:

'What is your current reading book and why should one read it?' 

The key here was not what one was reading, but rather trying to persuade other people that this was a book worth picking up. 


We then turned to the ongoing headline of events in the Red Sea and the bombing campaign of the US, UK and allies in the Yemen against Houthi rebel targets. 

We looked at the motion:

(i) 'This House supports the bombing campaign of the US, UK and allies in the Yemen against the Houthi rebels'. 

There was division as to whether this would escalate the situation, but nevertheless many 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. Many were concerned about fuelling inflation and prolonging the cost of living crisis. 


Following Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's criticism of Government plans for music in education we debated the motion:

(ii) 'This House would provide more money for music in school'.

The proposition looked at uncovering talent, creating opportunity and the wider health (as well as mental health) benefits of music in education. It was asked, 'how would you find the next Mozart if they did not have an opportunity to learn music?' 

The opposition felt that whilst music was important there were other vital areas of education in need of funding and that these should be prioritised from Mathematics to Computer Science and coding. In the end Plato's great line on music that it 'gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything' was not enough to sway the voting and the motion was defeated narrowly at the second telling. 


We ended the session with a mini-debate/discussion on tuition fees. 

Again the Enrichment group split between those against the idea of student debt, to those worried about higher taxes if the bill had to be picked up in another way. Wider context was also referenced from Europe and the University system in the USA. 


In our Debating Club we also looked at a possible ban on social media or smart-phones more generally for under-16s as raised in Parliament this week and how to tackle the carrying of knives in the UK and whether a prison sentence is required. 


Well done all and particularly to those that looked at incorporating rhetorical questions to their conclusions!


Another excellent session! 


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