The Senior Debating Society took part in the first round of the ESU Mace competition earlier this term. We managed to get through to the regional heats, and really enjoyed opposing the motion 'This house believes that artists have a moral duty to be political.' Researching for the debate made us see how important freedom of expression is for artists and that there should still be room for purely aesthetic art in such a politically conflicted world. We are now looking forward to round 2 taking place next term!
Last week we also enjoyed a fantastic evening joint with Radley College where we opposed the motion 'This House believes cancel culture should be cancelled'. Although there was some tactical voting from both sides, we still managed to convince our audience and go on to win the debate! Cancel culture conversations along with other lively discussions continued throughout the dinner, which thanks to an amazing catering team was superb. A great night overall and we look forward to going back to do the same again at Radley College next term.
Cara and Olivia, U6
Having joined St Helen and St Katharine this year for Sixth Form I have really enjoyed taking part in the Senior Debating Society. On 9 November, during the school's two week focus on climate change issues to compliment the coverage of COP26 taking place, the debating society held a debate with the motion ‘this house believes democracy is failing on climate change’. I got to take part for the first time and grappled with many important topics the debate highlighted, such as the inefficiency of democratic systems in implementing significant change due to potentially unpopular policies, and how that compared with less openly democratic societies such as China. The debate was very well attended and there was some really thought-provoking questions from the floor. Ultimately, after a vote from the audience, the opposition won, demonstrating that most still believed that democracy is not failing on climate change. I found it a very rewarding experience and am now attend the debating society every week!
On Friday 26 November, Radley and St Helen’s students put on their black tie attire and gathered in YPH for the annual Debating Dinner. Following drinks in the Atrium, Yasmin chaired the debate with the motion 'This house believes cancel culture should be cancelled.' The motion was proposed by Radley boys Giorgi and Jan with a vote of thanks from Jack; and opposed by Livy and Anna , with a vote of thanks from Cara.
While there was some loud and heated discussion both between teams and within the audience, both sides argued confidently and eloquently – however St Helen’s dominated the audience vote and came out victorious, having given thoughtful insight into democratic right and giving voices to the disadvantaged.
Students then enjoyed a delicious dinner, sharing many stories from their time at St Helen’s and Radley. Following the Radley Holocaust conference, it was a great opportunity to reconnect with those we had already met and to get to know those who we hadn’t had a chance to speak to. The night was very successful overall, and it was a pleasure to host the Radley boys.