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St Philip’s School - 19th September



Our second session of term with St Philip's debating club centred on two key topics of recent days: HS2 and Space Exploration.


The group began with a presentation on key news stories of the week. It was a delight to see so many hands go up from the start. We discussed inter alia the flood disasters, the War in Ukraine, and sporting news from Spain to the premier league.

This week we covered question skills (from Shakespeare) and how to incorporate rhetorical questions into argumentation, we also discussed the importance of being able to interrupt a debate or interject with a POI. The group was encouraged to answer them (POIs), using such points/questions as a springboard to further argumentation or rebuttal during our debates.

We then turned to our main debating topics.


HS2: At both tellings the group voted against the project, not so much because the idea was a bad one, but the execution, cost and failure to connect the rest of the UK seemed to make little sense compared to supporting the existing network throughout the country.


Space exploration: Given the tantalizing prospect of life being seen by the James Webb telescope we split into two teams to ask whether Rishi Sunak should have space exploration as a top priority of government. Both proposition and opposition spoke with conviction and incorporated the key skills we had looked at across our first two sessions. The use of Rhetorical Questions and POIs worked very cleverly to disrupt the flow of speakers, but it was nevertheless an extremely interesting and fast moving debate covering many of the key arguments. The group was relatively evenly split with many seeing the NHS, the cost of living, and inflation as vital tasks, whilst others could see the need for satellite progress and the pursuit of knowledge as key factors in a potential new space race.


Well done all on such excellent debating! Looking forward to the next session.


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