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St Philip's School - 23rd January

Updated: Jan 28

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

For our skill this week we turned to the importance of conclusions and how to complete an argument on a positive note. We looked at summary speaking and structure and how to provide appropriate signposting or a list format to strengthen argumentation. We also encouraged the group to incorporate rhetorical questions into their conclusions. 

Our newsround involved US politics, Iranian actions in Pakistan and the crisis in the Red Sea/Yemen, along with Storm Isha. 

Our warm-up question asked: 

'What is your current reading book and why should one read it?' 

As a classic interview question the focus here was on justification and description to persuade others in the audience to read the particular book being reviewed. 

We tackled two debates this week.

The first on the motion:

(i) 'This House supports the bombing campaign of the US, UK and allies in the Yemen against the Houthi rebels'. 

Many were concerned about escalating the situation not least given the actions of Iran. Whilst others felt that something had to be done to preserve the safety of a global shipping route via the Suez canal and through the Red Sea. Many were concerned about fuelling inflation and prolonging the cost of living crisis given the strategic importance of technological goods and machinery from Taiwan and China. 

We then turned to an educational motion, following Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's criticism of Government plans for music in education:

(ii) 'This House would provide more money for music in school'.

The proposition looked at the crucial importance of music (or the Arts more generally), the global reach of the industry, and uncovering talent, providing opportunity and the wider health and mental health benefits of music. How could one find the next Beethoven if opportunity was not created? However, the opposition felt that whilst all these points were important, the cost of living crisis meant that there were other priorities such as Mathematics and Computer Science that would determine the job opportunities of a greater number of children and to these money should spent and more focus given. It was a fascinating debate and super session!

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