Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Great British Parliamentary Debate

Written by Ciaran, Year 9 student reporter

On Saturday November 11th,  a small Whitley Academy debating team arrived at the campus of Warwick University for a great day of British Parliamentary debating.

At 8:30pm, we were buzzing with excitement, ready for a hectic day. The University campus was surrounded with beautiful colours of Autumn. The pavements leading to the debating theatre were wet, and the threat of rain loomed in the air.

Awaiting the call asking us to enter the Humanities lecture theatre, we paced up and down the corridors hoping that our second team would arrive in time. Luckily that’s just what our team mates did, they arrived with plenty of time to spare. We were now ready for the long day ahead.

Around an hour after arrival, we were briefed on the rules of the day’s proceedings. Once this was over, the draw-ups began. This was where a random grid was created informing all teams of which rooms they were allocated to, what position they were, and who their adjudicator should be. Finally, everyone was given the motion

Do you know that…

British Parliamentary debate style is a common format of debating in academic settings. There are two sides called the Government (or ‘Proposition’) and Opposition. 

There are four teams around the debating table: two for Opening and Closing Government, two for Opening and Closing Opposition.

The motion is what the four teams debate about.

Off we were, heading up to the fourth floor where we would have 15 minutes to prepare our arguments on our first topic: 

This house believes the media should not report on the private lives of politicians.” 

The preparation time went by very fast and the debate came as quickly as a flash. Paired up with two students from another school, we were in unfamiliar territory. Besides the confidence in public speaking and the manner to deliver our speeches effectively, we got to know some precise facts and current news, locally and nationally. Despite some reservation at the beginning of our speech, we did however run head on to tackle the topic. 

At the end of each round we were asked to leave the room for the judges to deliberate the results. We moved to the other side of the corridor where handshakes were exchanged and it was time to socialise with all of our opponents. We found it fascinating to realise we were the youngest debaters sitting at the debating table. We felt very proud indeed!

Around fifteen minutes later, we were sent back into the room where we received our scores. Unfortunately, we did not come first but we had made a good effort. Despite our defeat, we were more determined than ever to push ourselves to our maximum potential!

Shortly after round two, we were all invited to enjoy some sandwiches for lunch. 

Following our lunch break we were given our positions and the third motion which was:

“This house would allow the military to go on strike.” 

Another tricky topic, but we had good ideas. 

Round four came and we were told it would be a closed round, which meant we would not be informed of our rankings after the debate. We pushed as hard as we could, made good points and backed up our fellow team members, and managed to take fourth place (as determined after the event).

Some things I have personally learnt from the day are that in order to do well, you need to fulfil your role in the team, communicate during preparation time, and make two or three points followed by a summary. 

All in all, it was a great day. Now all I have left to say is, this house believes that you should remember this blog!

Thank you for reading.