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St Philip's School - 16th January



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


For our skill this week we turned our attention towards 'Evidence' - how to assemble/find it? What to trust? What to look for from various news/media outlets, not least in an age of 'fake news' and with social media. We encouraged students to ask questions of the information out there and to look at as wide an array of news coverage in order to provide balance. We had some superb questions on US politics on the back of the Iowa Caucus results.  


We then turned to our warm-up question:

If you were the Prime Minister what would be your top priorities? 

Here we had a superb mix of responses, from cleaning up the streets, to tackling crime, improving the NHS, paying doctors more, helping with housing for those homeless, increasing resources for education to halving inflation. 


It was also a pleasure to welcome George Dzavaryan as a guest speaker to the session and this was particularly pertinent to questions of improving healthcare in the UK. George has been involved in significant NHS projects - from prosthetic hands to PPE and shared his insights with the group. 


Our debate of the week looked at Rishi Sunak's plans for mathematics in schools and changing up the curriculum. In contrast to the PMs emphasis on mathematics, we looked at reading and literacy, with the motion: 'This House would give more lesson time to reading'. The group voted overwhelmingly in favour of the motion at both tellings. Nevertheless, it was a hard-fought debate with excellent points on both sides, from increasing vocabulary and literacy intelligence, to the desire to increase time spent on ICT, AI and technology focussed skills. There was also a concern that any change would involve increasing the length of an already long school day and might impact on extra-curricular activities - particularly sport. 


Well done all!  

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