Cranleigh’s debating team saw considerable success in their first external competitions in five years. Led, and cunningly aided by Mr Rothwell,Debating team the teams comprised Olivia Chesser and Alasdair Johnston, and Daniel Pienaar and Cameron Scheijde. On 28th of January, the teams took part in the Cambridge Schools’ debating Competition at St. Catherine’s, Bramley.  Daniel and Cameron missed out in their preliminary round, but won their second debate on the interesting motion, “This House would allow armies to perform genetic enhancements on consenting soldiers.”

Olivia and Ali came a close second (out of four teams) in their preliminary round, on the motion “This House would prevent governments from funding reconstruction work in areas prone to natural disaster.” As such, they then proceeded into the final where they came up against the might of the St Catherine’s debating team. Despite this, they more than held their own, the judge being incredibly impressed with the points and styles of both debaters. They placed second out of the eight teams competing, but the judge highly recommended them to proceed to the Cambridge schools finals should there be a place free.

The much larger Oxford Union round came a week later, but yielded even greater success. In the first round, on the motion “This House would introduce quotas for national sports teams in countries with a history of racial segregation,” both teams impressed the judges considerably with their by style, content and delivery. The teams were not ranked as in the Cambridge competition, but it was clear both teams did very well in the first round. The second round of debates was on the motion “This House would introduce a maximum salary cap.”  Coming up against some schools who have debated in these competitions for years, our debates were, once again, of a very high standard, so high, in fact, that Ali and Olivia were successful in getting through to the finals in Oxford in March – an extremely impressive feat given the standard of schools competing and that this was only the debating team’s second ever competition. They were one of only six teams to progress out of 32 in the regional round.

We look forward to seeing how they get on in Oxford- and of course there is still the chance of progressing to the Cambridge finals as well.

Cameron Scheijde
UVI, Cubitt House.