On Thursday 10 November, Eton College hosted a Thames Valley Learning Partnership (TVLP) debating event in the Jafar Hall. In addition to boys from Eton College, students from six other schools attended with Herschel Grammar School, Holyport College, The Langley Academy and Windsor Girls’ School all taking part in head-to-head debates. 

The purpose of the event was to encourage and develop debating skills in a friendly and supportive learning environment.  The afternoon began with a balloon debate and contributors were very impressive.  Each team had to argue convincingly why their superhero should remain in the balloon, and included: the Hulk, Superman, Batman and Spiderman.  Incredibly entertaining and well-researched speeches were delivered and the Chair for the event, Mr Doorbar, asked searching questions of each superhero, with responses equally imaginative and persuasive. 

Following the balloon debate, the more formal debates occurred. Debaters were masterful in their ingenuity at, for example, arguing why Halloween should be banned or retained. Although Eton provided some entertaining and enjoyable speeches from Jamie P, Andrew M and Alexey A, Windsor Girls’ School provided the best speaker of the entire event. An environmental debate took place on whether there should be a ban on all plastics and students from Holyport College presented some outstanding arguments against. Students also debated whether zoos should be banned, with many powerful speeches on both sides.  A debate on the consumption of meat also provided great ideas and arguments.

It was a genuinely difficult task to decide which were the best speeches, but the voting cards indicated that Holyport College should be awarded first place and The Langley Academy a close second. However, it needs to be said that all schools did really well and kept the audience on the edge of their benches.  Ms Matheson, the Thames Valley Learning Partnership Coordinator, presented the prizes. Dr Saunders from Eton College organised the event, with input from Mr Harrison and Mr Doorbar on motions.  The event was well supported by senior boys at Eton, who did a magnificent job of looking after timings and distributing voting cards.  Many thanks therefore to Zihan T, Rajan A, Dev K and Josh ON, plus to Richard K, who offered his usual enthusiastic and helpful support.