This week, members of our Debating Club took to the stage in the Theatre for their first debating competition against Claremont School.

Elizabeth H, Elizabeth O, India A, Isla H, Peiheng L and Rosie D represented Vinehall, with Poppy C performing the role of Chair. Debating is so beneficial for our Senior pupils – it makes them better listeners and better speakers and boosts their confidence.

Vinehall were up against six very articulate Year 8 pupils from Claremont and we ran a practice debate “We should all become vegans” to get started. Then, we debated the topic of “Mobiles phones should be banned in schools,” with Vinehall proposing the motion and Claremont on the opposition. Our second topic was “Robots should replace teachers,” with Claremont proposing the motion and Vinehall on the opposition.

The Chairs representing each school had the important role of introducing the debate and each speaker and deciding whether to allow rebuttals (where the other side puts forward a counter-argument).

We heard some fascinating, thoughtful and entertaining arguments from both sides, and some impressive rebuttals, particularly from Elizabeth Hunt.

In our debate on robot teachers, Peiheng L stole the show, arguing (for the opposition) that robots should not replace human teachers because they “lack humour, emotion and creativity” and are unable to laugh at pupils’ jokes. Peiheng declared (very solemnly): “In schools, we must have laughter.” So true!

Ultimately, Vinehall was judged to be the overall winner by Paul Borrows (Deputy Head) in both debates, but Claremont put up an extremely brave defence.

A big thank you to Nicky Glendinning (Head of English and Humanities) from Claremont for helping to organise the competition with me and to Darren Eglington on the technical side and Catering for our refreshments!

We look forward to organising more debating competitions in the future.

Emily Platt, Head of English