Queenswood Debaters Excel at Cambridge Union
Monday 2 March 2015
On Saturday 28 February, Queenswood debaters Isabella Massam and Aoife Morgan Jones (Year 11) made their way to Cambridge University to take part in the Finals of their national debating championship. 43 teams had made it to the Finals and now every one of our three opponents in each debate would be amongst the very best teams in the country.
The day consisted of four unprepared debates taking place in various rooms in the Cambridge Union building. Aoife and Isabella had to oppose ‘paying teachers on performance’ in their first debate. They did this very well and narrowly missed winning the room. The second debate saw them oppose the motion that ‘Israel should drop National Service’. Unfortunately the age of other contestants proved a distinct advantage in this debate, but they moved onto the third debate where they were tasked with outlining why ‘Paying a ransom should be criminalised’.
They were very privileged to be placed in the Debating Chamber itself for their final debate, where they had to propose that ‘This House regrets organised religion’. Undoubtedly this was the highlight of day. To stand at the dispatch box and debate in a room where the Dalai Lama, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Jesse Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan have stood and spoken, was an exciting moment.
We were well supported by several OQ who girls came down to see us and wish us luck.
Overall the team managed to come second in three of thier four debates. At no time did they ever look or feel outclassed, and in fact they really could have won two of their rooms. A few schools were experienced enough to have two teams in the Finals, and this means that the final score of 6 points on the day placed Isabella and Aoife in 24th place overall and Queenswood in 15th place nationally. This is a tremendous achievement given that over 600 teams began the competition. It is also good enough to earn Queenswood a trial for the England debating team next year.