On June 21, 120 debaters from 25 state and independent schools across the country came to Eton to participate in the Eton Open, a tournament unique among school debating competitions in that it is organised by school debaters for school debaters, with juniors and intermediates competing, and seniors adjudicating and providing feedback.
Debaters themselves came from a range of schools and locations, from London to Liverpool: some were in their second year of competitive debating, while for others this was their first ever competition. Over the course of the afternoon, the 60 pairs debated matters ranging from population control in developing countries to restricting media coverage of terrorist attacks. The top eight teams then progressed to two finals held in Upper School and Lower School, where they debated whether the state should secretly found a religion with very liberal values. In the end, the first final was won by a team from Debate Mate – a London-based charity that engages students in speech and debate – and the second final was won by a team from King’s College School, Wimbledon. Congratulations must go to all debaters, however, for what was a fantastic afternoon.
The main organisers of the competition were Harry Elliott KS, Toby Tricks KS, Reece Weaver (MJP) and Kelvin Anim (SAL). During their time in the Eton College Debating Society, these four have worked with energy and focus, on their own debating skills, on helping others improve and also on making debating accessible to pupils from a wide range of backgrounds. It was a fitting conclusion to their time at Eton that the competition was such a success. Harry deserves special mention for his outstanding planning and management which ensured that everyone benefited, had fun and got home on time. Thanks also to all members of the Debating Society who took responsibility for various aspects of the competition. A big thank you to Mr Shirwani, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure that everything progressed smoothly.