This is amazing news! Many congratulations to eight members of our Senior Debating Society who have won the Ethics Cup, a national debating competition held at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.
This prestigious competition is a tournament in which teams of secondary school students match wits with each other, discussing ethical issues of public concern. It was a big achievement in itself when Worth qualified for the national final through the regional finals in February. However, even better was to come.
The team of students travelled to Scotland in Monday, both excited and nervous to compete in the national final. Tuesday was a long day in which Worth had to compete in four different matches and speak on eight different ethical case studies. The day began with a nail-biting tie against Leeds Grammar School which heightened the team’s nerves and determination. The second match saw them register their first win, gaining the vote of all three judges against St Paul’s Catholic College from Scotland after presenting a clear and compelling case on the ethics of streaming justice.
The team really found their stride in the semi-finals against St Columba, Kilmalcolm. Here they presented admirably on the ethics of anger in politics and what was so impressive was the team’s thoughtful and focused dialogue during a 10-minute period when they had to field questions from the judging panel. None of this can be rehearsed and shows a team’s ability to grapple with these complex ethical issues. Worth again won this match with a unanimous vote from the judges.
This left Worth to face our neighbours Christ’s Hospital in the final. Christ’s Hospital boasts an excellent team who had not dropped a point all day. They had also beaten Worth in the regional finals and in a subsequent friendly. However, Worth rose to the challenge and showed how far the team has come.
The two cases were moral risks – presented by Christ’s Hospital who went first – and disability and working from home, presented by Worth. The team’s commentary on moral risk was thoughtful and focused but Christ’s Hospital were excellent in their presentation. This meant Worth had to really pull out the stops in their own presentation, which they did superbly.
After the judges had deliberated, the first judge – a Scottish MP – gave his vote to Christ’s Hospital, but Dr Julia Driver, professor of Virtue Ethics from University of Texas, gave her vote to Worth. Dr Sally Mapstone, vice chancellor of St Andrews, held the deciding vote and awarded Christ’s Hospital a strong 47 out of 60 before announcing Worth had 57 points, which meant we had won!
Extremely well done to all students who competed and to Head of English, Mrs Dawn Clubb, who runs the Debating Society at Worth. Also, a special thank you to Head of Religious Studies, Mr Jon Bindloss, who went with the students and helped to coach them on their ethical and moral frameworks.
Are you interested in debating? Which co-curricular activity would you choose from the range of more than 150 on offer at Worth?