Shrewsbury School

Cambridge University Schools' Debating Competition 2021 - Pupil Reflection

Thursday 4 March 2021

Last weekend, three teams of Salopians were entered into the Manchester regional round of the Cambridge Debating competition. Two pupils who participated in the debate reflect on their time in the competition.

Eva H (G, V):

“Last Saturday, Sapna and I were lucky enough to take part in a virtual debating competition, hosted by Cambridge. As a pair, we represented Shrewsbury’s C team, and did four British Parliamentary style rounds throughout the day. Although we were already familiar with debating, thanks to the inter-house competitions we take part in, the nature of this competition was new territory for us both.

“We had 15 minutes after the motion was released, before the round began and each competitor delivered a 5-minute speech. A feature of the structure that I found the most interesting were the Points of Interest, questions asked to the speaker in the middle of their speech, which I felt made the live debates very engaging. Although we did not qualify for the next round, I was glad of the opportunity as I was able to practice responding live to both questions and the motion.”

Sapna C (G, V):

On Saturday the 27th Eva and I were very fortunate to get the chance to take part in an all-day parliamentary style debating competition, which was hosted by Cambridge. We started of trembling with nerves, but as we did more debates, we got much more comfortable with the debating style and gained confidence.

“Our first motion discussed whether voting should be made compulsory, however we unfortunately lost this debate. We performed much better in the second debate where we had to argue against the motion that university admissions should be randomised. In Our penultimate debate, which was probably our best, we won the controversial argument that parents should pass a test before having kids.

“We ended the competition by coming second in an intense debate on whether zoos should be banned, a cause I was very passionate about. Overall, it was an incredibly enjoyable day, and I loved every minute of it. It something that I would like to participate in again in the future.”

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