The culture of debate and discussion lies at the very heart of our academic life.
From the earliest years, girls are encouraged to speak up and speak out. Girls here love to talk, to express their opinions and to challenge the status quo. Mrs Bingham, a passionate supporter of public speaking, has recently appointed a new Director of Debating, Dr Kate Etheridge.
This week, in conjunction with three English Speaking Union (ESU) mentors, Dr Etheridge welcomed a number of local schools – Eastbury Community School, St Marylebone CofE, Acland Burghley and Claremont High School – to take part in a debating workshop, alongside seventeen girls from South Hampstead.
Working with their counterparts from other schools, the students learnt techniques for expression and delivery, as well as how to reason and provide evidence and how to listen and respond. In small groups, they then went on to tackle various motions (including This house believes that we should abolish the monarchy) receiving valuable feedback from their ESU mentors.
Saaya and Sophia from the Lower Sixth commented that the workshop gave them a fantastic opportunity to develop their confidence and skills of argumentation. They particularly enjoyed working with the visiting schools. Our aim is to establish South Hampstead as a dynamic hub for debating, creating valuable partnerships with local schools. Pupils look forward to their first competitions next half term, including the ESU Schools’ Mace and our first friendly South Hampstead competition, in which six visiting schools will participate.