School; Debating

Debating - 1946


Inter Schools discussion group

The Inter-Schools Discussion Group has continued to meet regularly in term time. Although we have for some time been deprived of the pleasure of welcoming members of the two Leyton Schools to our meetings (and this seems a good opportunity to remind any of them who may read this that we shall be pleased to see them again), we have a small but keen nucleus of members from the two Walthamstow Grammar Schools. The fact that we no longer get the very large attendances of our early meetings is in one way an advantage, since it makes for a less formal atmosphere and thus for more free discussion.
A discussion on free-will and destiny was rather unsuccessful, being completely incomprehensible to many of those present. The next discussion, however, on discipline in schools, although no definite conclusions were reached, was much more lively and interesting. Most of the members were able to contribute to the discussion from their experience, different types of school council were discussed, and much interest was shown in a description of experimental "free schools" where external discipline is non-existent. A discussion on co-education aroused much controversy, and once more members of the group were able to call upon their own experience. For the next meeting, it was decided to discuss a Biblical quotation: "In much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." At its next meeting, the group discussed the question, "Is a Church necessary to a Christian society?" and then, as if by way of relief from these rather serious topics, the meeting held in the Easter holidays was devoted to a "quiz," the teams being chosen from the literary and scientific sides of the combined schools, and the questions being set by the members of the opposing teams. The first meeting of the Summer term was on the subject, "What is liberty?" and aroused vigorous controversy. It was then proposed that, in order to encourage people to speak, a meeting should be held at which everyone should have to make a short impromptu speech on a subject drawn by lot, but, despite a few outstanding speeches and a number of remarkable coincidences which led to some of those present having amusingly appropriate subjects, the meeting was not altogether a success. The latest discussion at the time of writing this report has been on the important question, "Is UNO failing?" This topic aroused a very lively discussion, and various points of view were strongly asserted and just as hotly attacked.
We should like to take this opportunity of thanking those members of the Staff of this School and of the Walthamstow Girls' High School who have so kindly attended our meetings and taken the chair. We should also like to remind fifth and sixth-formers that they will be welcome at our meetings if they wish to come. It has been suggested that the group should occasionally secure the aid of an outside expert to introduce the discussion. This is an idea which may well be acted on in the not too distant future.

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