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The Socratic Club - 7th January

Happy New Year! 

What an excellent set of sessions we had this week with our Junior and Senior Socratic club groups. 

It was great to catch up with members post their holidays and to hear about all they had been getting up to - from staycations to trips much further afield - from safaris to skiing and Lapland.

As the first session of a new term, we began by reminding old and new members of some of the key body language tips/recommendations that help both in interview work and debating/public speaking - from remembering to smile to eye contact and avoiding fidgeting. 

Our skill focus centred on:

Evidence, Stories and Rhetorical Questions and this was followed by a review of Structure and Signposting.

For our warm-up we looked at three interview style questions 'what was a highlight from your holiday?'; 'what goals/New Year's resolutions do you have?'; & 'what do you hope for for the world in 2024?' 

We were delighted to see both ambitious academic success on the list as well as new sports and activities and more chess and reading. For the world, 'peace' and 'an end to conflict' appeared frequently from both junior and senior groups. 

Following a newsround discussion that took in the earthquake in Japan and problems for Boeing and the Post Office Legal Scandal, we then turned to our main debating topics:

1. With Queen Margrethe II's abdication announcement on New Year's Eve, we asked whether what we thought of abdication for a queen or a king?

Both Junior and Senior groups voted against the idea - with the same margin 57% against. The role of the late Queen Elizabeth II weighed heavily in discussion. 

2. What should happen to Christmas trees post the festive season?

Here the Junior Group argued and voted in stark contrast to the Senior. The Junior Group rejected the idea of plastic trees with a focus on replantable options as per King Charles III's Christmas Speech tree. The Senior group voted overwhelmingly in favour of plastic trees to avoid cutting down real trees.

3. In the Senior Session we also looked at Rishi Sunak's Visa Migration plans for bringing family over to the UK and the minimum wage required. The Senior Group voted 50% in favour of maintaining the current level at £18k; 33% in favour of the new level at £38k; and 17% in favour of a lower figure at c.£30k. 

Overall the group was very sensitive to the change, given conflict in the world and that many workers in these situations work in key support industries, from care homes to nursing in the NHS. That said, it was also recognised that a level was required, the question was whether the PM had chosen sensibly, with the majority against the figure announced by the Government. 

We also reviewed two unseen examples: A Twelfth Night Cake and a Container Shipping Map including the different routes - via the Cape of Good Hope or through the Suez Canal. 

Well done all on a wonderful start to the term of discussion and debate! 

Lent Term Dates 2024

7th January

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

21st January

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

4th February

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

18th February

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

3rd March

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

17th March

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

24th March

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

Workshops & Events

14th January

Interview Workshop & Group Debating

(Junior & Senior) (11 am)

24th February

Museum Tour

(Junior & Senior) TBC

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