Shrewsbury School

Oxford Union Debating Competition

Thursday 28 January 2021

An update on the Oxford Union Debating Competition from Elizabeth E (EDH, U6).

On Tuesday afternoon, four keen debaters (Dominic, Ranulf, Kate and I) took part in the Oxford Union Debating Competition. Although held online this year, the style and format was still very much that of a British Parliamentary Debate: eight people debating– with four people proposing the motion and four people opposing the motion, split into pairs on each side. Ultimately, we were not only trying to justify why or why not the motion should stand, but also compete against the pair who was on our side.

The first motion we tackled as the closing government was ‘This House regrets the culture of outrage’. The 15 minutes of preparation time was undoubtedly one of the more challenging aspects of the debate, as Kate and I had to quickly come up with key arguments for our case without the use of any wider resources. However, it was rewarding to find that once we were propelled into our speeches our arguments flowed well.

The addition of Points of Information – another aspect of British Parliamentary Debating that is different to our usual House Debating at school- added further spark to the debate. In the next round, the motion was ‘This House believes that the media should not report on the private lives of politicians’; this time we took the position of the opening opposition.

Overall, it was a really enjoyable, albeit challenging experience. Many thanks to Mr Mackridge for assisting us on what was a very insightful afternoon of debating.

Elizabeth E (EDH, U6)



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