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St Andrew's School - 9th October

Well done all in our St Andrew's Pangbourne debating club. It has been fantastic to see the progress made and each student incorporating key public speaking skills in their contributions.

Our focus on skills this week turned to teamwork and anticipating arguments from the proposition and opposition. This was part of our preparation for a competition with St Philip's school towards the end of term.

As a warm up we began this week with a newsround-up. It was super to see such an array of different topics being presented and how the group are really engaging with current affairs. Topics ranged from the tragic news in Israel and Gaza, to the earthquake in Afghanistan, the cancellation of HS2, the ongoing War in Ukraine and various items on the climate crisis, along with a potential forthcoming smoking ban.

Following on from our reflections of the Conservative Party Conference, we turned to the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool to debate Keir Starmer's plans for paying doctors below private sector pay to work weekend hours to bring down waiting lists in the NHS. The group voted overwhelmingly for efforts to reduce the backlog and waiting lists, but remained divided as to whether this policy would work. Those with family in the medical profession, pointed out that most doctors and nurses are already overworked, and the solution was more staffing not more hours. Others thought that family life and time-off was not being considered enough here for medics, and that a tired doctor was no good for a patient. Most felt greater investment was needed and paying the equivalent to private sector weekend hours would be a key first step.

Our second debate looked at clothing waste and fast fashion and whether more sustainable products were needed, and this house asked 'is this the responsibility of the owner or the fashion brand?' A via media was picked by some pointing out that government had a role to play here too. It was also mentioned that this was a 20th/21st century problem with manmade products replacing natural fabrics, such as cotton and wool. Overall the group put great emphasis on owners and recycling more and giving to charity if at all possible.

A great session! Looking forward to next week.

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