04 May 2016

Debating Success at the International Competition for Young Debaters at the Oxford Union.

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Two of our Middle School debaters, Jahnvi Gada (Year 10) and Anna Power (Year 9) came 26th out of the 72 teams who qualified for the final of the International Competition for Young Debaters.

This is an annual competition in the British Parliamentary format for students in Year 10 and below, and Sevenoaks took part in the final on Saturday at the Oxford Union.

We reached this stage after competing against 600 teams from four continents in the earlier rounds to reach this stage. Competitors had flown in as far away as Canada and Hong Kong, and the standard was extremely high!

During the 12-hour competition, they spoke in four debates for which they had 15 minutes to prepare (without access to the internet or electronic devices) the following motions:

  • This House Would give harsher sentences to celebrities and public figures convicted of crimes
  • This House Would assassinate dictators
  • This House Would ban schools from having religious affiliation
  • This House Believes political parties should be funded only by the state  

The motions were not pre-released so this was an extremely challenging event. Entrants also had to develop networking skills, interacting with university student judges as well as with other competitors from around the world.

Before the debate our students got a taste of Oxford life, watching a debate at the union (‘This House believes religion is still the opiate of the masses’), visiting Oriel College, attending an excellent debating workshop and enjoying a black tie dinner in the Union. There was even time for punting.  

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