A few weeks ago we received the sad but understandable news that the World Schools Debating Competition, scheduled to be held in Mexico in July, had been cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is heartbreaking for our twelve trialists, who have all put in an inordinate amount of work already, the Team Scotland coaching body were adamant that this would not be the end of the road for us!
In that spirit we have taken the decision to enter our debaters into some online competitions- starting with the Oldham Cup, a prestigious international tournament hosted by the Anglo-Chinese Junior College (ACJC) and SAID.
This competition is highly competitive, particularly for our speakers who are participating in the ‘National Teams’ category against countries like Singapore, Nigeria and China. Our teams are as follows:
Kirsten Allen (Mearns Castle High School)
Emma Bell (Broxburn Academy)
Sophie Hannigan (St Columba’s School)
Eoghan Connolly (Douglas Academy)
Freddy Simonet-Lefevre (Craigmount High School)
Lachlan White (George Watson’s College)
Simon Ezra Jackson (George Watson’s College)
Zainab Sardar (Mearns Castle High School)
Akhila Potluru (Craigmount High School)
Oscar Swire (Stewart’s Melville College)
Saoirse Gaston (St Columba’s School)
Fraser Laing (Dollar Academy)
We are currently in round 3 and the results have been incredible so far. Team 95 have won both of their debates- once against team Singapore and once against team China- facing speakers who have ranked in the top 10 in the world at previous World Schools competitions! Teams 96 and 95 have both won one debate, and team 94 were narrowly beaten in both rounds.
For teams made up almost entirely of speakers who have no international debating experience (some of whom are s2 pupils) and who have had minimal time to train together to see results like this against some of the best, most well-prepared teams in the world is nothing short of phenomenal. These debaters are a testament to their schools and Scotland as a whole and we’re so excited to see where their debating success takes them. They’re also learning a lot from this competition- facing tough competition, dealing with unexpected arguments and receiving feedback from highly experienced judges. I’ve added a list of motions at the bottom of this post for those of you who are interested.
I’ll keep you updated on our debaters’ progress in this exciting competition as it continues. In the meantime, please do stay safe.
Yours in debating,
ESU Scotland Programmes Officer and Team Scotland Coach
The motions for the preliminary rounds of the Oldham Cup are as follows:
- Round 1: This House believes that criminal justice policy (e.g. mandatory arrests, minimum sentencing, post release conditions, etc.) should be decided by experts instead of elected representatives.
- Round 2: This House believes that progressive individuals in weak democracies seeking to improve society should work for corrupt governments.
- Round 3: This House opposes the norm that popular culture aimed at children should have happy endings.
- Round 4: This House believes that feminists should challenge militarism instead of advocating for the ‘right to fight’ (e.g. pushing for the inclusion of women in national draft registration and combat duty).
- Round 5: This House regrets the rise of social media as a primary news source.