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St Philip's School - 14th May

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

Our skill focus this ip's 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 conflict in the Middle East, the Northern Lights, 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. It was also felt that opportunity in both sport and music should be more widespread across the UK. 

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. More discussion/conversation was also sought between the family and the school before getting to a fine. It was a nuanced debate with tremendous maturity shown across the floor. 

We ended with a brief discussion on politicians changing sides and what we felt about that (in the wake of two defections from the Conservative party to the Labour party in recent weeks) - and with a focus on Winston Churchill's line (his moves across from the conservative party to the liberal party and then back again): 'Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat.' 

Well done on another great session. 

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