The Big Debate The Big Debate The Big Debate The Big Debate The Big Debate The Big Debate

The Big Debate

In a week which has been dominated by political debate in the run-up to this month's General Election, we too have been focusing on the art of public speaking at school. Wednesday 6 May saw a range of inter-house debates taking place in venues across the campus and the level of engagement shown by students was very impressive. Both in the formal presentations and in the open floor sessions, those participating demonstrated a good knowledge of the subjects under discussion and were very able to both support and challenge the motions being proposed. 

The ability to engage with ideas, defend positions and listen to those of others are key skills not just for the debating chamber but also in life. Sadly, our politicians are not always the best role models and so I am encouraged that our students are able to hold strong views and express them with passion and respect for others in equal measure.

Each session involved groups of pupils from each house, debating on relevant and controversial topics. For Years 7 to 8 the motion: ‘This House would ban zoos’ was proposed by North and West houses, and opposed by South and East houses. Lucy Zeeman (West house) kicked things off in the library with a well-prepared speech about why zoos should be banned, which was countered with some very valid points from the East house debaters. Similarly, in the Old Library, Henry Binks (North house) set the tone for a fascinating debate against South house. The audience offered excellent participation and it was fantastic to welcome pupils from Year 6 to offer their thoughts on the subject. Many house points were awarded to both individuals and groups for their thoughtful and considered ideas, but in the end the winning houses were East and South.

Years 9 to 10 debates were equally passionate and exciting, also with great audience participation. East and South proposed the motion: ‘This House would abolish the Monarchy’ whilst West and North houses opposed. The arguments from both sides were very strong and well-researched with North house and East house coming out on top, receiving 50 house points each.

Overall it was a very successful event which was enjoyed by both pupils and staff on the panels. We look forward to organising more events like this in the future.


Years 7 and 8
East versus West (East won)
North versus South (South won)

Years 9 and 10
East versus West (East won)
North versus South (North won)

Independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 - 18 in Somerset