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The debating season began in September with resounding success in the first round of The Taylor Trophy competition. It is an invitation only competition with teams delivering a 6 min speech on a prepared topic. Within the 6 minutes they must take points of clash from the opposing side, and then they have 2mins to address points raised from the audience within their summation speech. The top three teams went through to the next round with Sam Newy and Jamie Arthur, Matthew Greening and Andrew Wright making two of that number. Sam Newey in particular was highlight as one of the two best speakers. In round 2 Sam Newy and Jamie Arthur gained the highest point score to place them in the final held at Bromsgrove School. Marling achieved second place overall; narrowly losing to a Year 11 team, but Jamie Arthur won a prize for best speaker.

The English Speaking Union held their Junior Public Speaking competition area round at St Edward’s School Cheltenham. The Marling team consisted of: 

• Jamie Arthur – Speaker 

• Sam Newey – Chair

• Andrew Wright Questioner 

The topic was: This house believes the United Kingdom has betrayed Hong Kong.

Marling won this competition to proceed through to the regional final. Jamie Arthur was cited as best speaker due to his extensive knowledge on Hong Kong.

At the regional finals held at the Municipal Offices Cheltenham, Marling came in second place with Sam Newey winning the prize for best Chair.

BP Debating continues to be a real strength of the school following in the traditional of The Marling Debating Society which is 114 years old. The Cambridge Union Schools Competition saw a record entry of 2,000 teams worldwide.  The Marling senior teams of: Tom Carlile, Sean Kemsley and Jack Aspinall, Toby Jones.

Coasted to success in order to compete at the South West eliminating round held at Badminton School where they beat all comers to gain one of 44 places for the final held at Cambridge University. The competition was stiff but Marling achieved 17th place, a fantastic achievement against schools that employ specialist debating coaches.

In February the first round of The Oxford Union was a fiercely contested competition with The Oxford Union deciding to have a one round eliminator for finals day. Teams travelled from the whole of the South West; Truro to Cheltenham, Cardiff to Salisbury to compete at Downside School, Somerset for a place in the final. Sean Kemsley and Jack Aspinall won one of the coveted places for the Oxford final in what one judge stated as “the toughest preliminary rounds ever held”. Commendation must also go to Felix Liber and Tom Wells in their first competition that finished in the top 15.

Finals day in March was held at The Oxford Union in March. Unfortunately Sean was unable to attend so Jamie Arthur took his place. As a year 11 Jamie found himself competing with the very best of international debaters, most of whom were two years older than him. Jamie was not fazed, and with the experienced Jack at his side contributed to them finishing in the top 15.

Jack Aspinall has been instrumental in forming and training the Year 10 debating teams who travelled to Oxford University for the first round of the International Cambridge Young debaters Competition with teams competing from Canada and Europe as well as the UK. This was the first competition for the teams and the level of competition should not be underestimated.

Marling was represented by:

Matthew Aspinall - Dan Guthrie

Christopher Hale - Jim McNealey

Joe Hall - Callum Nimmo

Joe McGill- Shivam Seth

Of note; Christopher Hale - Jim McNealey and Joe McGill- Shivam Seth finished 20- 21 out of a total of 86 schools with the other teams finishing within the top40. 

For the first time Marling was invited to debate at Eton College. Jack Aspinall, Will Gill, Jamie Arthur Sam Newey Will Mead Will Taylor Calum Nimmo and Jim McNealey travelled with Mrs Southwell to participate in the open competition. They were lucky to be able to compete in the Jafar Hall, Eton’s new 12 million pound purpose built debating chamber. 

Our junior teams have been actively involved in training younger members and running house competitions. It is this bedrock of participation that ensures the future of the society. Marling was asked to help The Sports Council formulate a debating format suitable to be part of The Schools Games Competition. Marling hosted the competition where local teams competed in an open format which included questions from the floor. Praise must go to our junior team of: Will Mead, James Bradshaw, Will Taylor who stood up to an onslaught of points against them, responding with articulation and tenacity. Hope Clutterbuck was our questioner from the floor. As a result Marling were declared winners. 

The date for our first competition of the academic year 2015/16 is already in the calendar and Marling looks forward to another successful year.


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