Debating Success at Oxford Union National Finals
The Godalming College pair of Ellie Whitlock and Elliot Thornton achieved an impressive 56th position out of 96 schools that competed in the National Finals of the world famous Oxford Union Schools Debating Competition. Undoubtedly one of the most competitive schools debating competitions in the world Ellie and Elliot had already overcome intense regional competition from the likes of RGS and GHS just to get to the finals themselves! On the big day they crossed swords with the fiercest debaters in the country and undoubtedly proved that they can mix it with the very best.
There were four debates in total which challenged the teams across a variety of topics. The format is known as 'British Parliamentary Style Short Prep' and entails motions being released just 15 minutes beforehand in which time the debaters have to prepare their 5 minute speeches and anticipate Points of Information from their opposition. The motions were :
* This House believes that the State should use subliminal messaging in order to make its citizens tolerant of race and sexualities
* This House would lower the Burden of Proof for crimes with low conviction rates
* This House believes that Ukraine should seek closer political and economic ties with Russia rather than the EU; and
* This House would ban private healthcare in developing countries
Ellie & Elliot recorded a 4th, 2nd, 3rd and 1st place in their debates which put them right in the mix overall and certainly registered Godalming as one of the top performers in the state sector in a competition traditionally dominated by top independent schools. Indeed there were some very good schools below them in the final table (including St. Catherine's and Charterhouse). Ellie & Elliot acquitted themselves with great determination, intelligence, wit and grace throughout the day and can be immensely proud of their achievement. Having blazed a trail there is no reason why other Godalming debaters cannot emulate their achievements in the future.