Pupils show talent with debating skills

The winning team in the debating competition at Miltoncross School - Stanley Jeffery, Joe Vaughan and Dominic Charman.  (120103-656)
The winning team in the debating competition at Miltoncross School - Stanley Jeffery, Joe Vaughan and Dominic Charman. (120103-656)

LETTER OF THE DAY: Housing - more needs to be done

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Controversy was the name of the game at Miltoncross School’s second annual debating competition.

Religion, the London riots, parenting and the clash of the supernatural creatures from the hit Twilight saga were just a few of the topics that formed the basis of eight compelling rounds.

Best speaker Jerry Williams, best chairman Joe Vaughan and best questioner Eleanor MacFarlane.  (120103-637)

Best speaker Jerry Williams, best chairman Joe Vaughan and best questioner Eleanor MacFarlane. (120103-637)

For each debate, there was a speaker who argued the motion and a questioner who quizzed the speaker before questions were taken from the floor.

There was also a chairman who summed up all the arguments and kept timings in check.

Teachers and parents in the audience also played a big part in proceedings.

They jumped at the chance to quiz the speakers, who all responded with consummate professionalism and confidence.

It was a close call, but the overall winning team was number seven.

Members were chairman Joe Vaughan, questioner Dominic Charman and speaker Stanley Jeffery.

Joe struck gold twice as he was also voted best overall chairman, with Jerry Williams taking the prize of best speaker and Ellie McFarlane, 15, best questioner.

Jerry, 16, who made a rousing speech about the distractions of social media in education, says: ‘I really felt passionately about the topic and I enjoyed being questioned on the spot – it was a good challenge.

‘This is the second time I’ve been involved in the debate, which I put myself forward for as it really helps to boost my confidence.’

Ellie, 15, who had some strong ammunition against the motion that people should have a licence to parent, says: ‘I definitely wasn’t expecting to win.

‘I would have been happy with second place, but I’m really happy and had a lot of fun.

‘The motion wasn’t my favourite subject and I didn’t feel strongly about it, so I had to do a lot of thinking on my feet.’

Jo McKenna-Aspell, assistant head and event organiser, adds: ‘It was even better than last year’s debate and the support from parents in the audience was fantastic.

The event was sponsored by the University of Chichester and Commercial Port Harbour, whose representatives Mark Mason and Martin Putman formed the judging panel.