Debating team’s ‘fantastic performance’ in contest

A Tonbridge School team has advanced to the next round of the English-Speaking Union’s Schools’ Mace, the oldest and largest debating competition for schools in England.

The team, made up of Tom Roxburgh (WH5), Jonas Freeman (MH4) and Isaac Willats (WW4), took part in the first round on Thursday 21 January. The boys are members of the School’s Debating Society and they take Debating as their Wednesday activity.

They opposed the motion: ‘This House Would ban job applicants from disclosing the names of educational institutions that they have attended’.

The Schools’ Mace, which this year is being run remotely via Zoom, is a prestigious national competition which hones students’ debating skills in a fun and competitive environment. By taking part, students enhance their speech-writing, public speaking and critical thinking skills.

Sarah Pinto del Rio, Deputy Head of English, who runs the Debating Society, said: “The boys put in a fantastic performance and really impressed with their presentation style, which was confident and engaging.

“The judge applauded them for using effective story-telling techniques, painting a vivid picture of the issues and using well-selected evidence to support their arguments. The boys fought off stiff competition, too, from other schools.”

The team now has a few weeks in which to prepare and research their material for the next round, once they receive the new motion.

Tonbridge will also be taking part in the Oxford Schools competition (run by the Oxford Union) later this year.

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