For the second consecutive year, Epsom College entered the Oxford Schools’ Debating tournament which is widely considered to be the most prestigious schools debating tournament in the world. The South London and South East regional round, one of many rounds held across the globe, took place at Dulwich College and many of the country’s top schools were in attendance, including Sevenoaks School, KCS Wimbledon, Dulwich College, King’s School Canterbury, Whitgift and Beneden.
The students were asked to debate two fascinating motions. The first, ‘this house believes that the families of elected politicians should use publicly funded health and education services’, challenged them to question the nature of a representative democracy. The second motion, ‘This house regrets the widespread expectation that children should be grateful to their parents’, asked them to contend with their own ethics and moral philosophies.
It was an intensive evening of British parliamentary debating in which teams have just 15 minutes to prepare a convincing, fluent five-minute speech on a new topic. The college was admirably represented by our Lower Sixth students: Matthew Jones (C), Thomas Stannard (C), Katya Lee (R), Clara Alexis (R), Theo Mully (P), and Margaux Soin (Cr).
Our students all showed an extraordinary ability to speak perceptively and eloquently under pressure and were highly commended by the judges from the Oxford Union. While we did not break through this year, the students gained valuable life experience and a better understanding of what is required to succeed at the top end of debating.
Mr Ciaran Lee