It has been a privilege to work with the Year 5/6 Debating TED group this term.

What an inspiring group of articulate pupils they are! They have worked hard to develop arguments on behalf of either the proposition or the opposition, even though these arguments may be contrary to their personal opinion, whilst developing key oracy skills.

Debating is a key skill in thinking before speaking. The pupils have critically engaged with – and interrogated – what they have heard. As critical thinkers and problem solvers, the pupils have embraced opportunities to think more deeply about topics they may not usually consider, whilst having fun.

At the start of the term, Mrs. Gilmore (our esteemed Chair of Governors) faced Mr. Gilmore (founder and director of Realty Law, who is also Mrs. Gilmore’s husband) in a debate chaired by Mr. Singleton (our previous Chair of Governors). This was a fantastic opportunity for the pupils to witness two experienced debaters in action: modelling how to present opposing arguments. The pupils learnt how to offer questions from the floor and how a debate is formally structured.

Following this superb introduction, BCS pupils were invited to attend the KES Debating Competition. Mischa and Joobin, pupils in 5EW, represented BCS to compete against a range of primary schools from across the Midlands. Impressively, they presented a very convincing argument and won their first heat arguing in favour of the motion: This house would abolish the monarchy (eight days prior to King Charles’s coronation).

On Friday 9 June, the dream team returned to KES for the second heat, and semi-finals, to argue in favour of the motion: This house would ban cars from all major city centres. Once again, our talented team delivered concise arguments and offered clear points of information to scoop a second victory, despite the challenge of facing well-prepared arguments from the opposition. Joobin was also awarded a pin for ‘best speaker’. We then proceeded to drive back to Blue Coat and the prizewinners celebrated with their peers.

I was incredibly proud of Joobin and Mischa on both occasions. They were humble and gracious competitors, and they thanked the opposition for presenting challenging counter arguments. They are looking forward to the Grand Final, which will be a short prep debate: the debaters are given a motion and then they have fifteen minutes – on their own, without input from others (other than the Debating Partnerships Team and/or the internet) – to formulate their arguments and plan their three minute speeches. This will test what they can do under pressure, and both teams will be in the same boat.

On Friday 30 June, the original TED Debating team will attend the Grand Final with Mischa and Joobin to enjoy an afternoon of debating games before watching the Grand Final. 

We all wish them the very best of luck! 

Mrs. Kavanagh Finch