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Debating Society victorious at Cambridge competition

Two TGS teams are through to “Finals Day” at the University of Cambridge after their outstanding performances at the South East regional round. 

TGS Debating Society fielded four teams to the round who qualified for the spots after a rigorous trial process earlier in the year. TGS was represented by:

  • TGS BT -Beth (Year 13) and Talia (Year 13)
  • TGS JM - Jess (Year 13) and Maaria (Year 13)
  • TGS AC - Aiden (Year 12) and Cara (Year 13)
  • TGS IM - Isabella (Year 12) and Merry (Year 11)

The teams have been training twice a week, both with the Year 10-13 wider team on Thursday lunchtimes and Cambridge Advanced Training on Fridays. 

Due to Covid-restrictions, the competition took place online via Zoom. 

The day began with an auspicious start. On the motion “This house prefers a world where the research, writing and teaching of history focuses on studying the lives of ordinary people as opposed to that of important leaders of society” Talia and Beth drew first proposition, meaning they would open the debate. They made poignant remarks on the distinction between truth and facts in historical knowledge and how proposing the motion would give a voice to the disempowered. They took first place in this round, beating Eton College and experienced squad The Bishop Stortford High School. 

In the second round all teams were asked to prepare for the motion “This House Prefers a world where sentences are determined by an AI which makes decisions through machine learning rather than by human judges”. In the British Parliamentary format, teams are only given 15 minutes to prepare for the debates after they’ve been given the motion. They then compete against three other teams of two, with two teams arguing for the motion and two arguing against. In this round, Cara and Aiden took first place from first opposition. 

It was all to play for going into the third and final round. The motion was THW ban essential service workers from striking. Due to their success in the preceding two rounds, Beth and Talia were in the top room with two Eton teams and a team from Maidstone Grammar School. They took second place in the round, while Maaria and Jess took first place in their room 

After the judges’ deliberation, the teams were on tenterhooks waiting for the results. Only 6 of 36 teams would go through to the next round. The first three positions were taken by Eton but “breaking” fourth was TGS-IM: Isabella and Merry.  They had taken first place in their final debate. Going through fifth was The Bishop Stortford High School and breaking sixth was TGS – BT: Beth and Talia.

Both TGS teams will go through to the finals day held at Cambridge University in March. 

I’ve really enjoyed what we have done with debate so far! It’s a skill I have only started to pick up this year, and I have found it has massively improved my confidence. I’m excited to be able to compete again, especially since it will be my first in-person competition.  

Bella , Year 12

The Debating Society meets weekly on Thursday lunchtimes.