On 15 November, we hosted the inaugural Tormead & RGS Historical Debate series. With history and politics students from Tormead’s Lower Sixth and a mixture of Upper and Lower Sixth Formers from RGS, all the students contributed to a lively evening of socio-political discourse.
The controversial topics covered from an historical perspective, using only the prescribed sources were:
Should the British Government be blamed or praised for the Balfour Declaration? and
Is the British Government responsible for the devastating impact of the Great Famine in Ireland?
The creation and research for these debates gave the team members a chance to evaluate both the long and short-term impacts on societies Britain has had. The students also explored the contentious impact individuals can have in both politics and history. With references, source materials and quotations to support every argument, the teams were prepared to share skills and hone their exceptional communication skills with intelligence, passion and knowledge.
This round of debates was deliberately not competitive, instead giving every student the opportunity to receive individual feedback based on a specific mark scheme. The first RGS team received feedback from Dr Carrel and the second team from Mrs Parker-Yeates and in return Mr Davies, Head of History at RGS gave feedback to the Tormead students. All of the teachers were impressed with the historical analysis and great approach every student had.
RGS have already invited the Tormead team back to have another debate next term, as the collaboration and camaraderie which was particularly highlighted through respectful yet challenging rebuttals, allowed everyone to gain confidence in their oracy, communication and adaptability.
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