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The Socratic Club - 5th March

We were hugely impressed by our Junior and Senior groups this week - their knowledge of current affairs and debating skills were presented to a very high level. In the first half of each session we began with a newsround-up of current affairs, with each student presenting on a current affairs/news fact. The groups have taken magnificently to this! From the Northern-Ireland protocol, to changes in taxation, the support for earthquake disaster in Turkey and Syria, to food challenges across the UK with bad weather in Spain and North Africa, to support for Ukraine with fighter jets, to the human rights of children, to the Willow Project - it was a superb session of headlines.

We then turned to our skill of the week and how to impress the judge or umpire in debating, following the sad passing of Baroness Boothroyd - the first women speaker of the House of Commons in over 700 years.

We looked at:

  • Reasoning & Evidence

  • Listening & Response

  • Organisation & Prioritisation

  • Expression & Delivery

  • Team Work & Roles

Our debate covered the motion:

  • This House thinks that the UK should grow more of our own food and import less?

  • (Coupled with a secondary question - should we eat more seasonally?)

This was on the back of supply chain and food shortages leading to the rationing/restricted selling of a number of vegetable and fruit products in Supermarket stores. Many felt that the War in Ukraine had highlighted the need to secure a food strategy that made the UK less dependent on global shocks. Whilst others thought that trade with Spain - the importing of fruit and vegetables helped develop a partnership that saw the UK export roughly £16 billion a year (to Spain) and that this might be at risk if the UK took a more isolationist approach.

The groups strongly supported seasonal eating - but also recognised the benefits of a varied diet and the cheapness of goods from countries with more land and lower labour costs. The 'green' debate also featured with both sides arguing that their policy would be best for the environment - the importers suggesting that to grow more in the UK would require enormous quantities of energy and fertilizer imports and recommending alternative fuels for shipping and aviation that would be greener; whilst those in favour of growing our own - suggested that the shipping of food products as far away as South America contributed to global warming and climate change.

The summary speaking was at a very high level across the groups and we will work further on POIs next time.

The motion was carried in both tellings, but in the Senior group the margin reduced in the second round.

Well done all!

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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