RGS and Central High pupils join forces to debate abortion

A pupil in the RGS–CNHS debating competition on 8 November

A pupil in the RGS–CNHS debating competition on 8 November

Pupils from the Royal Grammar School (RGS) and Central Newcastle High School (CNHS) in Jesmond went head-to-head in the final of the schools’ annual debating contest on Thursday 8th November, tackling the issue of abortion.

‘’This house would completely abolish abortion’’, was the motion picked at random from various subjects suggested by the debaters themselves.

The competition was started by two pupils at RGS – which has a strong tradition of debating – and was taken on by a teacher from either school. Rather than pitting the schools against each other, the pupils form joint teams and are given their position – whether ‘proposition’ or ‘opposition’ – in a ‘blind date’-style process. Team members are then given 15 minutes to write their speeches.

Each pupil had a chance to give a persuasive speech in the debating style of the British Parliament. They were kept to time by the judge’s clacker and had to deal with interruptions from other debaters. After 40 minutes, the judging panel – which includes a pupil from each school – announced the opening proposition team as winners: Andrew Low of RGS and Laura Moreby of CNHS.

Jimmy Scholes (RGS) and Lauren Baldwin (CNHS) were judged as having given the best speeches of the whole competition.

Hannah Bowen, a year nine pupil at CNHS, was on the winning team in the first round. She told JesmondLocal that she joined the debate club because it “helps you learn about logic and developing arguments, and it’s really fun as well”.

Mrs. McEvedy, a teacher at CNHS, said it is a competition “purely for the fun of debating”.

The friendly competition will return next autumn. In the meantime, both schools are set to enter national debating competitions.