Yesterday Nicholas, Oliver and Luca (Year 6) took part in a debating competition at The Oratory School. The boys had an action packed morning in 3 half an hour workshops, lead by The Oratory School’s Sixth form boys, developing various debating skills such as speaking impromptu, good voice projection, how to construct and argument, how to make a point effectively and the format of a formal debate. The boys came back from these debates highly stimulated and ready to find out what topic they were going to be given for their competitive debate.

Just before lunch the boys received an envelope with their debating topic inside, they had to oppose the notion that all teachers within schools should be replaced by computers. They were delighted with this view point and went to lunch eagerly anticipating getting stuck into planning their argument.

The boys sat down for a lovely lunch and continued to discuss how they were going to address this issue. They had lots of ideas and conversation flowed constantly. Once the boys had finished their main courses they went to pick up their desserts. The Oratory School had provided a special treat as there were visitors in the school and they had a special outdoor educational chef in the kitchen making the deserts. They had the choice of a mealworm chocolate moose or an ant toffee and vanilla moose. The boys tucked in and to their surprise really enjoyed the alternative food.

After lunch the team finally got the opportunity to sit down and formally plan their argument. They were given about an hour to plan and prepare ideas and counter arguments to take on the opposing council of The Oratory Prep School. The team constructed an argument highlighting the benefits of having a human teacher. After an hour it was time for the main event. The boys stood up and made their case in a very well constructed and organised manner. Luca discussed the fact that humans have emotions and compassion that pupils feel safe and comfortable learning with and Nicholas highlighted the technical errors that would occur such as virus’ and power cuts. After both councils had made their arguments it was time for questions from the audience. It was Oliver’s task to address these challenging questions in his summary and he made lots of excellent points including stating that sometimes children are upset and don’t even know why they are upset which just wouldn’t compute with a machine. After both teams had finished their summaries the judges retired to decide on their overall placings.

The judges were impressed with how well Gayhurst worked as a team and in the confidence and clarity that the boys all addressed the audience with. After a difficult decision eventually the judges decided to give Gayhurst third place. The team should be very proud of themselves and were a real credit to the school. With these boys as the next generation of potential politicians and public speakers it looks like our teacher’s jobs are in safe hands.

A huge thank you must go to The Oratory School, their staff and pupils for hosting such a great day.