‘This House, as the US, would stop all arms sales, military support, and other aid to Saudi Arabia.’ This was the motion that faced the Year Nine and Year Ten debaters as they returned from the Christmas holidays ready to take part in their Regional round of the International Competition for Young Debaters.
With a place on Finals Day at stake at Cambridge University debating against the best 40 teams from the UK and the champions from countries like Ireland, Canada, Greece, and India, there was everything to play for – and our debaters proved up to the challenge!
First, the four pairs spent the week preparing for the motion on Saudi Arabia, researching the Middle East and the issues around American aid. As we headed off to Oxford, they were ready. Our first debate was on introducing a quota for the number of women MPs in Parliament and with two firsts and a second (out of four pairs in each debate) from the Year Ten pairs, this was a superb start! The debate on Saudi Arabia went well with another first and two seconds. After two of their three debates, all three Year Ten teams were in a position to qualify… if the third debate went well. Then, disaster! Although the debate on abolishing the monarchy was quite straightforward, all three of our teams were debating against each other – it was probable that only one could qualify now in the RGS ‘Room of Death’! Kasia Czyrko and Katy Marsh emerged victorious and achieved the amazing success of being one of the teams to reach the Finals in April. Only seven teams from over 42 qualified from the whole Midlands area so Kasia and Katy should be congratulated on such a fantastic result.
It was another great debating day for RGS. All three Year Ten pairs were strong, with wins for James Preece and James Parkinson, and for Ben Reynolds and Kathryn Shaw – even if they could not quite qualify at the end. Our Year Nine pair of Issy Sherrington-Lodge and Rayyan Styles more than held their own in their first competition, achieving two creditable thirds.
Thank you to our sponsors, SME Solicitors, and the coach for the Middle School, Amber Warner-Warr. We are looking forward to seeing some of the Year Tens in action again at the end of the month in the English Speaking Union Public Speaking Competition.
Miss J Waller, Head of Debating