Shrewsbury School

Oxford Union Debating Competition 2020

Friday 6 March 2020

Four Lower Sixth Salopians took part in the annual Oxford University Debating Competition this week. 

The regional Midlands round was held at Warwick School and challenged the pupils to two rounds of British Parliamentary style debating with only 15 minutes to prepare their speeches.

The best teams from each regional round are then invited to the Oxford Union to compete in the Grand Final itself - a very prestigious event!

A member of each team has written up their experiences of the competition as follows...

On the 2nd March, four lucky Salopians were driven to Warwick School to compete in the annual Oxford Union Debating Competition, which has the aim of sparking the interests of secondary school pupils.

When we arrived, we were greeted by a welcoming committee of Oxford undergraduates, who were also acting as judges for each debate, and then signed in. Subsequently, we were shown the motion for the first round and given 15 minutes to gather our arguments and prepare for battle.

As the style of British Parliamentary debate is very different from Shrewsbury debating, it took us a while to adapt, but ultimately, we seemed to fair well. We all have a resoundingly positive reflection of the event and feel that we gained an immense amount from the experience, which will unquestionably have a positive impact upon our ability to debate at Shrewsbury.

Rhys Woodward (SH L6)

On Monday 2nd March, four keen debaters, (Milton, Rhys, Lucy and I) set out to Warwick School, where the Oxford Union Debating Competition took place.

The style and format was that of a British Parliamentary Debate: eight people debating – with four people proposing the motion and four people opposing the motion, split into pairs on each side. Ultimately, we were not only trying to justify why the proposing or opposing motion should stand, but also competing against the pair who was in the same group.

The first motion we tackled as the opening government was ‘This house would punish sporting teams for the poor behaviour of their fans’. After 15 minutes' preparation time (albeit without any use of wider resources such as the internet), we had five minutes each to justify our proposition.

In the next round, we were the closing opposition of the motion ‘Assuming it is technologically possible, this house would require all individuals in liberal democratic states to reveal their identity when communicating online’.

Overall, it was a challenging yet enjoyable experience. Many thanks to Mr Percival for assisting us on what was a very insightful afternoon of debating.

Elizabeth Edwards (EDH L6)

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