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The Socratic Club - 19th February

The Socratic Club was very pleased to host another successful bring a friend/sibling session of our Junior and Senior Groups.

We began both sessions with a newsround review of current affairs - with students putting forward items that they had learnt about or were interested in. This ranged from the forthcoming change in SNP leadership, to the Spy Balloon saga, to tanks for Ukraine, to Storm Otto, to the earthquake in Syria & Turkey. It was extremely impressive to see the well-informed up-to-speed approach/nature of our membership.

As with all our sessions we put a new skill or the recapitulation of an old skill in the spot light and in this case the idea of pre-empting or planning ahead for what the opposition might say or what the opposing arguments might be in a debate; and then, how to deal with those points in a constructive way to improve one's own arguments. With Sun Tzu's ideas in mind we reminded our membership that such strategies and ideas are ancient/old concepts, and can be applied to sporting fields - such as martial arts, football and fencing, and of course in the game of chess.

For our debates of the day we focussed on two motions:

1) This House thinks that leaders should have a time limit? (fixed terms)

2) This House believes that Scotland should be independent

In both cases we contextualised the debate, with a focus on Nicola Sturgeon stepping down as First Minister of Scotland and whether the US system is better with fixed terms of office/ or the alternative of the UK, in which a leader can 'go on an on', although in reality this of course doesn't happen.

In the second case we looked at recent polling that has seen a drop in support for independence, particularly in a world facing security risks - from Russia and the War in Ukraine, to spy-balloon and AI concerns, and of course global warming.

Both groups rejected both motions - but to varying degrees. The Junior group overwhelmingly felt in both tellings that leaders should pick their departure times (unless voted out); whilst the Senior Group voted 80% in favour of this approach. Each side wanting to be able to retain talent if one had an excellent leader.

The Junior group (though voted against) was more inclined to see the merits of independence with a 40% vote in favour; whilst the Senior group unanimously voted against. Finance, 'better together', setting an unhelpful European precedent all played an important role in this debate. In addition, the history of 300+ years of Union and 400+ years a double crown weighed heavily.

Well done all for such outstanding debating and active listening too across the groups. We also had a very large number of POIs and we will be working on how to make those more effective/impactful in our next sessions.

Lent Term Dates 2023

Socratic Club & Special Workshops/Events

15th January

Hybrid Interview Workshop & Group Debating

(In Person & via zoom)

(Junior and Senior) (10:30 am)

22nd January

Junior Group (11 am)/Senior Group (4 pm)

29th January

Speaker Session

with special guest Admiral Mike Haskins (US Navy)

Junior Group & Senior Group (4 pm)

5th February

Junior Group (11 am)/Senior Group (4 pm)

19th February

(Bring a friend)

Junior Group (11 am)/Senior Group (4 pm)

5th March

Junior Group (11 am)/Senior Group (4 pm)

12th March

Courtauld Gallery Tour

(In Person)

(Junior and Senior) (11 am)

19th March

Junior Group (11 am)/Senior Group (4 pm)

16th April

Hybrid Revision & Exam Technique Workshop

(In Person & via zoom)

(Junior and Senior) (10:30 am)

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