Fire and fun in debates with girls

QE boys did battle in debate with pupils from a leading girls’ school in a specially arranged workshop.

The Year 8 debating day with The Henrietta Barnett School (HBS) involved 50 pupils and three staff from QE. The debaters had a maximum of only 45 minutes to do their research and marshal their arguments after learning the topic to be discussed.

Academic Enrichment Tutor and Geography teacher Helen Davies said: “The purpose of the workshop was to provide challenge for the students and put them in a situation where they were required to take academic risks.”

The morning began with two of QE’s experienced Year 10 debaters, Alex McNamara-Beard and Saifullah Shah, giving an introduction to debating to the younger pupils.  “This was excellent and thought-provoking; it included an interactive teaching session, which really got the Year 8s engaged and fired up for the day,” said Miss Davies.

""The debates took place in three rooms and were chaired by the pupils themselves. The topics were:

  • This House would use animals for experimentation
  • This House believes that all owners of large dogs should have to pass a test to prove they are able to control them
  • This House would abolish homework.

""“That final topic caused some quite extensive and heated debates, with interesting points being made on both sides of the argument!” said Miss Davies. “In fact, throughout the debates, everyone got involved, with pertinent points being raised by the floor as well as by the speakers.”

At the end of the morning, the best QE and HBS debater from each room was chosen and they then had just 20 minutes to prepare for a final debate in front of all of the other students. The topic was This House believes that the death penalty is an acceptable form of punishment for the most serious crimes. During the debate, the participants considered what constitute ‘the most serious crimes’, as well as asking if death was ‘an easy way out’ and exploring whether an executioner who puts someone to death is morally guilty of murder. 

""QE is involved in a number of joint events with leading girls’ schools, including workshops and academic symposia for senior pupils. “The QE and HBS boys and girls clearly enjoyed the day – not only working together and hearing different opinions from other students, but also socialising together over the lunch that was provided,” said Miss Davies.