This year, two students from Kingsbury High School reached the Cambridge Union Schools’ Debating Finals, held at the famous home of the Cambridge University Debating Society on Wednesday 29th February. This is the first time Kingsbury High School has been represented at the National Finals of this competition, having fallen at the second round hurdle on a number of previous occasions and with a better recent record in the Oxford Union competition. Whilst Kingsbury did not progress to the medals stage on Finals Day, we are all extremely proud of the hard work, strong character and admirable commitment that Callum Knight and Emilian Gega (both Year 13) gave to this competition in representing the school. The boys did not look out of place in a competition of the highest standard, in which they faced debaters from the England team and managed to bounce back from some early setbacks – including losing one debate on a technicality – to end the day with a well-earned win against three other impressive teams.
The students were invited to spend an evening in St John’s College, Cambridge, prior to the event and enjoyed excellent university hospitality. On the Finals Day, the students had just fifteen minutes to debate the following motions:
- This House would not give awards (such as Grammys or Oscars) to music or film stars who have committed violent crimes
- This House would withhold development aid from countries that criminalise homosexuality
- This House would ban bailed-out banks from giving bonuses to employees
- This House believes that England should support Scottish independence
The semi-final debate was ‘This House would abolish the institution of marriage’ and the final was ‘This House believes that liberal democracies should militarily and financially support opposition groups in authoritarian states.’ The final was won by Dulwich College, an academically selective independent school which also claimed top spot in the Bristol Union Debating Finals earlier in the year and was a runner-up in this year’s Oxford Union Schools’ Debating Competition.
To reach Finals Day, the students had beaten a range competing London school teams in the first round at Kingsbury High School, and then defeated Haileybury College in a tense second round encounter at Queen Elizabeth Boys’ School, Barnet. The students were supported throughout the competition by Mr Mitchell, Ms Tumber, Mr Waxman and Mr Senior.
[text & image provided by Mr Mitchell & Ms Helps]