Date Posted... Jan 25th 2024

The Art of Persuasion: Student Debating Competitions

Three promising teams of debaters represented Truro School in the South West and Wales round of the Schools’ Oxford Union Debating Competition, where more than forty teams took part.

Hosted entirely in Zoom break-out rooms for the first time, this was a fascinating experience for our Sixth Formers.

Our three teams – Bea J and Evie M, James H and Ollie G, and Lizzie P, and Mathilde I have been practising with Mrs Selvey on Tuesday lunchtimes.

There were two very interesting motions – This House would abolish academic streaming in secondary schools, and This House would oppose the glorification of long-term relationships, with each of our teams competing against three other schools per debate.

With only ten minutes to prepare for each motion and a randomiser deciding whether you propose or oppose the motion, this was a high-adrenaline competition, with five-minute speeches, plenty of live rebuttals and points of information being thrown from all sides.

The teams performed with energy, style and flexibility, warming up as the competition advanced. Although they didn’t quite make it as one of only seven teams through to the final, they learned so many practical tips, showed such promise for the future and had a fantastic time doing so.

Three of these students will also be heading to Richard Lander School to participate in the Rotary Youth Speaks Competition. The theme of this competition revolves around whether environmental campaigning should prioritise changing government policies over individual behaviours.

Our debating club is also a popular WAA option for pupils from across the Senior School. By participating in the club, students not only develop critical thinking skills and confidence but also learn different styles of debating while collaborating as part of a dynamic team.