On Wednesday 15th October, ten Key Stage 4 students represented Uxbridge High School in the first round of the West London Debating League. Eight of the students had already attended a workshop hosted by the University of Oxford and over the last fortnight they have been honing their skills in time for the opening round of the competition. The team performed admirably on the night, speaking confidently, intellectually and persuasively about two motions (one of which was only released fifteen minutes prior to the debate).
UHS entered five ‘debating pairs’ into the tournament and stand out performances from a number of individuals saw two of those pairs finish in the top half on the night, defeating teams from other experienced West London schools. Mr Weinberg, English teacher at UHS, commented: ‘It was a very proud moment to see the students debating with such poise and tenacity on Wednesday. They have learnt a lot in the last two weeks and demonstrate huge potential for the future. Debating develops students’ critical thinking and their capacity for close analysis, as well as their confidence in public speaking. I am delighted to have caught the interest of these students and I hope to expand the opportunity for competitive debating to even more of our students over the course of the year.’
Iqra Mohamed (Year 10) said: ‘It was a fantastic experience that allowed us to challenge ourselves in a way that we haven’t previously. We were lucky to have the opportunity to enter the tournament’. Mohammad Safi and Tanzil Choudury (both in year 11) won one of their debates on Wednesday and told Mr Weinberg: ‘It was exhilarating to challenge people with so much more experience than ourselves, but we kept calm and showed them we weren’t push-overs!’ Catriona Bowman (Year 11) said: ‘Debating seemed a pretty daunting experience at first, but by the time we left on Wednesday I was beaming, it’s definitely a new hobby I’ll be continuing’.
The second round of the competition takes place in December and the UHS team are already excited about preparing to do even better.