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Knightsbridge School - 12th January

It was great to begin our debating and interview club term with our Knightsbridge school students.

We started with presentation skills - what are the key styles needed for public speaking. The group highlighted some excellent points, from posture and eye contact, to using debate cards and a positive introduction and conclusion.

We then turned to a warm-up interview/public speaking task: 'tell us something interesting about you?' and then 'something interesting about the world?' ideally focussing on current affairs. With no preparation, the responses showed a really impressive array of talent and knowledge; and the voice projection(s) and tone were pitched at exactly the right levels for compelling debating. This half of term will see us work on active listening skills; argumentation; and summary speaking.

Following the exercise, we covered three debating topics.

  • The first on the motion: 'This House thinks that the Government is right to bring in legislation to make it more difficult to strike'. By the second telling, the motion was carried with a majority. Voting moved owing to some key points on emergency services and the cost to the economy with strikes. That said, some exceptionally well crafted lines were presented for the opposition - not least that striking allowed workers a vital mechanism to seek better pay and working conditions, particularly in a cost of living crisis.

  • The second motion: 'This House would introduce a law to make it more difficult to throw away/waste food'. The figures are staggering when it comes to food waste, not least in the festive season. From supermarkets to households, the UK throws away enough food each year to deal with much of the world's food problems. The voting here was evenly balanced, with the complexity of how a law would work featuring heavily.

  • Finally, we looked at Rishi Sunak's, the PM's latest plans on compulsory Mathematics beyond 16. A small majority rejected his proposals, arguing that choice was key and such moves should involve consultation with children first.

A hugely impressive session - well done all!

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