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St Andrew's School - 25th September

Well done all in our St Andrew's Pangbourne debating club group for another excellent session.

Our skill focus this week was on summary speaking and endings - how to finish on a positive note. It was great to see so many then apply these tools to their points/speeches later in the session.

We then proceeded with our weekly newsround. Over half of the club contributed very interesting selections from current affairs - from stories in the NHS, and Rishi Sunak's plans on the environment/net zero, to HS2 and a potential axing of part of the project. Items from Ukraine, Russia, and Canada were also covered from global politics.

Our key topics of the day centred on Dangerous dogs and whether there should be a ban for American Bully XLs? and whether the Prime Minister was right to recommend/consider changing A-levels to an English baccalaureate, with English and Mathematics being studied (compulsorily) until the age of 18?

In both topics the proposition was overwhelmingly rejected. In the first instance it was felt that responsibility was with an owner and not with the dog and that animal charities were right to put emphasis on breeders and owners. Even with the rise in dog related deaths and injuries, the group did not feel that a ban would solve the problem. In the second case, the actor James Norton's points on the arts and the choice/ability to pick other subjects weighed heavily with the club. Many articulated the points that 'if you are not good at Mathematics at 16, two more years of study are unlikely to improve things' - 'some people have talents for different subjects' - and - 'we can't all be good at the same things'.

It was another tremendous set of debates and a most impressive discussion.

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