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Debate Club Visit

Neston High School’s very own debate team had their first encounter with the Cheshire Debating Society Inter School Competition, which we are thrilled to announce was a huge success!

The competition took place at Upton High School on Thursday 23rd May, where our confident and conscientious team comprised of 9 pupils (a mixture of Year 9 and Year 10) really shone. Having received a very warm welcome from our hosts at Upton High School, we soon became overwhelmed by the sheer number of students taking part in the competition. With 5 different schools taking part, there was still a total of 12 teams, with Upton High School having 6 teams of their own.

Round 1 of 3 debates soon took place. Neston’s team were given a short 15 minutes to prepare proposition arguments for the motion: ‘This House believes the Government should not make laws regarding what people eat & drink’, a motion we had not been given or knew of beforehand. However, our team of speakers were confident, thorough and insightful when preparing their speeches as well as proactively pre-planning counter arguments in anticipation of points the opposition team could potentially put forward. As the judges also scored points on the attitude and body language of the speakers, it was important that our team were dignified and valid in challenging the opposition. They were definitely that; putting forward insightful speeches and challenging the opposition with valid points of interest. The results were extremely close, but Neston took the lead in this first debate.

Following the team’s success in Round 1, confidence was clearly building. Our team began to show even more passion when it came to exploring the motion: ‘This House believes that the parents of illiterate students should be considered guilty of child abuse’. The team’s passion shone through to staff and judges right through the planning process to the actual debate. Our team’s well-structured, strong arguments in opposition to this motion led us to a strong result of 166 points and a second victory. Even more impressive was two of our speakers receiving personalised awards for their efforts. A huge congratulations to Charlotte Kennedy, awarded ‘Best Speaker’ and to Amy Matson, awarded ‘Best Point of Interest’.

Finally Round 3 gave our team the opportunity to argue for the motion: ‘This House believes all non-essential plastic surgery should be banned’. Our team approached this debate with maturity, valid points and insightful arguments around body image and mental health. In this final debate, each of our 9 students were given the opportunity to be directly involved in the debate. As well as the 4 speakers, there were also roles for chair of debate and time keeper.

Now it was time to await the results, and tensions were building. Had we done enough?

After a tense wait, the results were in. The announcement came first that our hosts, Upton High School, had secured both second and third place. This was a credit to their clear commitment and proficiency in debating. But who was the winner?

When the announcement was made that Neston High School were the victors of the night, the team and staff were absolutely thrilled. It was a fantastic achievement for all the pupils involved. Not only were judges impressed by our students’ outstanding skills in oracy and their confidence to debate so professionally and convincingly, but we were also commended for our students’ continuous maturity and impeccable behaviour throughout the evening. With one judge remarking, “you are a credit to your school”; it is safe to say that both the pupils and staff were extremely proud.

Mr Phillips and Ms Hartley, who organised the trip to the event and the weekly workshops leading up to it, would like to thank the parents and families of students who attended. They would also like to thank Mr Fearon at Upton High School for organising the programme. Most importantly, they would like to thank and congratulate the students! There are clearly some future politicians or barristers in our midst, and you should all be very proud of yourselves. Well done, Neston!

By Miss L Harrison