Our Sixth Form debaters took part in the Oxford Union Society’s annual schools’ competition, the largest British Parliamentary school-level debating competition in the world. Alex Fagan reports on their experience:
Six Hamptonians have been honing their argumentative and persuasive abilities in weekly debates over the course of this year. Coached and guided by debating veteran Upper Sixth pupil Tom Hazell, and under the watchful eye of Mrs Havord, the group’s skills have gone from strength to strength and all were looking forward to the Oxford Union Society’s competition.
Paul Wilkinson and Firas Khalil, were keen to demonstrate their prowess and were joined by Tom and I, along with Henry O’Sullivan and Charlie Key, both newcomers to the Hampton debating scene. No one had any doubt of their persuasive credentials, however, as their pupil-run political newspaper, Spare Thoughts, shows. On the night of the competition, the two motions debated were the banning of religious schools, and whether doctors or parents should have the final say in children’s medical treatment. This proved to spark a number of passionate and heated debates. Facing tough opposition from Whitgift School, Alleyn’s School and Dulwich College, the three Hampton pairs were unlucky not to progress to the next round.
With 32 teams from a number of different schools all competing, it was always going to be tough to progress. I am sure, however, that everyone has learnt a great deal from the experience, and is looking forward to putting their skills to the test later in the year. Senior debater, Tom Hazell, commented on how impressed he was with the skills on show:
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The quality of oracy, teamwork and technical skills shown by Hamptonians makes me confident that debating at School is on an upward trajectory.