It was great to begin our first Socratic club weekly session at St Philip's school with such an impressive array of debating, argumentation and questions from the group. Well done all on such excellent contributions and participation - it bodes very well indeed for this academic year.
Throughout the term we will provide various blog posts/updates giving details on the sessions.
This week we began by looking at key skills from body language, to the use of evidence, stories and rhetorical questions for debating, public speaking in general, and of course potential upcoming interviews. The group picked out key examples as well as targets for self-improvement. We also discussed as a warm-up goals for the term: this involved and ranged from inter alia sporting progress on the football pitch to making better notes, improving language skills (Latin and French) and working harder at Mathematics - this showed a great array of ambition but also practicality.
Then the group was asked to present on key news stories of the week/and or the holidays. From the tragic earthquake in Morocco to wild fires, the Rugby Union World Cup and RAAC concrete in schools, the group gave a wide span of current affairs and this was very encouraging for the term.
Our key topic of the day focussed on China and potential espionage in Parliament. This was all the more pertinent given that the House of Commons had been discussing the issue over the last two days, with Rishi Sunak on the floor of the Commons explaining the Government position.
The group voted overwhelmingly that whilst the UK should rebuke China (and specifically the Chinese government) for such actions (if they were found to be true) trade and relations were best retained by maintaining good relations and business as opposed to a complete break. It was also raised that whilst we should naturally be very unhappy about other countries spying on us and particularly at the heart of our democracy, MI6 would be doing something similar to other countries around the world too. There was considerable concern that nearly £100 bn of trade might be put at risk. An amendment to the motion with the idea of targeted sanctions on key Chinese officials did gain traction, but did not have majority support at the telling. It was a fascinating debate.
Well done all on such an outstanding first session of term!