Pupils and staff have had to think creatively this term in order to ensure the full breadth of the Shrewsbury co-curriculum remains a vibrant and enriching aspect of school life. One such activity that has found a way to thrive under new restrictions is the Senior House Debating competition.
Usual procedure would see house teams visit one another to compete in weekly fixtures across the term before the strongest teams progress to the knock-out stages. Due to restrictions on year group and house mixing, the competition has been held exclusively digitally this term but has retained its popular appeal with the pupils nonetheless. Pupils deliver their five minute speeches now to camera rather than a packed house hall but the rules and structure of the debate remains much the same – a staff judge times and adjudicates before providing individual and team feedback at the summation of each debate.
All thirteen houses have been proactively involved in the competition this term and have debated topics as varied as the British nuclear deterrent, individualism versus the collective and whether computers should eventually replace teachers…!
The competition now hots up as the quarter-final round beckons for eight remaining teams on Thursday 12th November. Against the backdrop of national lockdown and significant restrictions here in the school community, the ongoing successes of the Senior House Debating competition serve as a reminder that with a flexible and can-do approach our pupils can continue pushing themselves beyond the confines of the classroom and develop key life-skills such as public speaking, research and the art of persuasion – even if they’re unable to be in the same room as their peers in these uncertain times. Watch this space for updates as the competition reaches its finale later in the academic term.
H.G. Mackridge (Head of Academic Enrichment)