The Perse School

The great debate

15 Feb 2016

Last week, our French debating teams enjoyed great success in the Regional French Debating Competition. This annual language contest was held at The Perse, where seven local schools were pitted against each other in a series of debates entirely in French. Both our Lower and Upper Sixth teams retained their titles from last year, winning this regional round.

In the knock-out stage of the contest, the Upper Sixth team of Tom Fane and Mihir Chandraker debated three motions: ‘Face aux crises humanitaires, l’Europe devrait toujours ouvrir ses frontiers’, ‘les robots sont dangereux pour l’Homme’ and ‘la démocratie n’est qu’une illusion’. In the final, the pair was required to debate an improvised motion for which they only had 15 minutes to prepare: ‘The UK should leave the EU’, with the Perse team defending the motion against The Leys School. Tom and Mihir presented a range of convincing reasons and coherent arguments, whilst effectively rebuffing the opposition’s arguments. As winners of this regional round, Tom and Mihir have qualified for the National Debating Final at L’Institut Francais in London next month.

The Lower Sixth team of Jonathan Ferguson and Charles Richardson performed equally well in the competition. Their motions in the knock-out stage ranged from discussing social networks to language learning: ‘Les réseaux sociaux sont responsables du mal-être des jeunes’, Les robots sont dangereux pour l’Homme and ‘On devrait abaisser l’âge de la majorité à seize ans’. After a close semi-final against the Stephen Perse Foundation, the home team faced Hills Road Sixth Form College, debating the motion: ‘learning languages is indispensable’. The Perse team’s rhetoric, confidence and range of excellent arguments saw them through to victory.

Head of French at The Perse, Pierre Pillet, said of this achievement:

“The success of our French debating teams comes from a passion for languages and discussing current affairs. In lessons and in debating club, the students regularly immerse themselves in French news and have acquired the skills to construct an argument in the language, whilst being astutely observant of the opposition’s slightest weaknesses. Their quick-minded and nimble-footed approach defeated the opposition in just under 15 minutes.”

Good luck to Tom and Mihir in the final in March!


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