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St Andrew's School - 13th May

This was another excellent session with our St Andrew's Debating & Interview Club. 

Our skill focus this week looked at Active Listening - and how best to engage with other speeches and points - with rebuttal and constructive supporting arguments. 

It was super to see the group using this key skill during our debating discussions. 

Our newsround saw reference to Eurovision, the Northern Lights, the local (and mayoral) election results, a new FM for Scotland, a ban for a Covid vaccine, and sporting success across football. 

For our warm up we then turned to our interview style philosophical question with an emphasis on 'why'/justification?:

'Is sport more important than music?'

Here arguments centred on health, both physical and mental, and encouraging different skills as well as teamwork. The old motto came to mind: mens sana in corpore sano. The majority voted for sport but many sought a middle ground that wanted a balance of both in education. 

Our main debate looked at the current discussion in Westminster politics (and nationally) on school absence linked to illness (in addition to the same workplace debate).

We asked in our motion, 'Should this House increase the fine in September from £60 to £80?'

The majority voted against the motion (at both tellings) on the basis that the plan would make little difference (and in many instances families had legitimate and important reasons for absence), but there was a unanimous view that more needed to be done to understand why children are missing school for days on end (without a reason) and that greater care and attention would be needed there, rather than a straightforward fine. Many also wished to see a better hybrid system for online working when ill. More discussion/conversation was also sought between the family and the school before getting to a fine. It was a very balanced and nuanced debate with tremendous maturity. Well done all!

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