On Tuesday 4th October, teams from each House competed in the Junior House Public Speaking Competition 2011. Teams comprised of brave IVth and LVth formers came to speak to their assembled peers and a group of esteemed judges on various matters of topical importance, aiming to use their powers of persuasion to sway opinion on their chosen subjects. As usual it was hugely entertaining and there were a few laughs alongside the serious discussions.

Cubitt opened the competition with the interesting question, ‘Is our society too reliant on technology?’. Weston Lord gave an impressive performance, questioning whether there might be dangers associated with the increasing reliance on gadgets in our everyday lives.

North spoke passionately and with enormous conviction on the question, ‘Should the police have used harsher tactics to deal with the London rioters?’. Their overall opinion was that they should, and that the damage could have been limited if the police had clamped down harder. Special credit to Rory Kennedy for a well structured and argued speech, and the whole team ultimately earned a well-deserved second place in the competition.

South thought that ‘Saturday school should be banned at Cranleigh’. In Charlie Norton’s speech, she showed that South have a good understanding of why we have school on Saturday, but felt that on balance, the cons out weigh the pros, and would like to see weekends established, even if that means shorter holidays!

Loveday picked the very topical issue of the Government’s controversial new plans for helping to fund the Health Service: ‘Health Lottery, is it all it’s cracked up to be?’. In their speech they outlined some of the flaws inherent in allowing private sponsors with a profit motive to become involved in raising money for charity, and felt that taxpayers should be footing the bill.

East’s very verbose speech argued that ‘Christianity should be made compulsory in UK schools’. Monty Clarke delivered a well structured and argued speech, on the same theme that East had spoken on in last year’s senior competition. It was just as impressive the second time around, and all credit to the East Junior Team for delivering it with such conviction and panache!

The very worthy Winners of the competition spoke last. West’s Lizzie Roberts made a compelling case to the audience on the question, ‘Does airbrushing the photographs of models damage the self esteem of young women?’. She was self-assured, and spoke with only a few notes with passion and eloquence. She was ably supported by Holly Partridge as Chairman, and the Vote of Thanks was delivered by Abby Frett. All three deserve warm congratulations, and we look forward to seeing more from them.

Many thanks to Mr Boardman for organising the event, Mr McConnell-Wood, our Head Judge, and Miss McKay and Mr Brookes, our wing judges. Thanks also to Mrs Burns who was questioner.

Finally, congratulations again to all the speakers in the competition, who without exception spoke with confidence and good humour and made an excellent start to the Public Speaking and Debating year, 2011/12.