School; Debating

Debating - 1954


When the Society reassembled at the beginning of the school year, last year's very able secretary, T. J. Cann, did not stand for re-election. M. G. Head was elected as the new secretary, with I. Glogawsky, J. DM. Moore, I. Mugridge, J. R. Boast, T. Laugharne and A. J. K. Webb to serve with him on the committee.
The meeting-place of the society alternated throughout the term between the lecture-room and the geography room. The programme for the Autumn term was a full one. One balloon debate was held, one meeting involving impromptu, speeches on a variety of subjects, and also a session of short snap-debates. An innovation in the history of the Society was the joint committee meeting with Woodford C.H.S. for Girls towards the end of September.
As a result of this helpful meeting, two inter-school debates were held, the first here, on the subject "'That Corporal Punishment is justified," and the second at Woodford, the motion being "That the White Australia Policy is justified." Before the end of the Autumn term a joint meeting with the Junior Debating and Discussion Society was held which took the form of a brains trust of the Any Question? type. A Sudanese student, Mr. El Mahdi, also spoke to the society on the problem and history of the Sudan. This term we have maintained a solid care of support of about twenty which proved to be a very satisfactory number to provide enjoyable meetings. There were, of course, the usual boosted attendances at the inter-school debates !

In the last edition of The Monovian we reported on our successes during the Autumn term 1952. To our great disappointment attendances fell during the Spring term 1953. This was apparently a foreshadow of the apathy which seemed to invade so many aspects of School last summer.
For example, when in January we held a discussion on "How the School should celebrate the Coronation" there was as little enthusiasm or constructive suggestion as was shown for the 'Mack Sports' and School Dance which were planned for June and July.
The Society organised the preliminary rounds for the Junior Declamation Competition. This was eventually won by G. Stringer with M. A. MeColgan a very close second.
Discussions on "Space Travel" and "The New Spelling," in spite of their topicality, did not attract large numbers. However, meetings cannot be judged purely on the numbers attending; the quality of discussion was frequently quite high.
During the Summer term there were no regular meetings, but the Society was invited to the Walthamstow County High School to, take part in a Quiz. This was a very enjoyable meeting though once again numbers were fewer than expected. We won the contest by the narrow margin of two points, thus obtaining revenge for our defeat the previous autumn.
Special mention must be made of the excellent work of D. J.Wilson who served as Secretary for nearly eighteen months. Autumn term 1953 has been the most successful since our inauguration three years ago. There has been renewed vigour, and meetings have attracted some spectacularly large audiences.
As will be seen from the following list, the range of subjects, is considerable and the attendances (the numbers in brackets) have been most encouraging. "Crisis in the Cinema " (29), "Sportsman Balloon Debate" (54), "That Russia is not genuinely interested in peace" (23), "That the modern girl is not an improvement on her predecessors" (71), "That Socialism is unnecessary " (34}, " Big Business is killing sport" (37), "Six theories on Flying Saucers" (73), "No one has a right to refuse military service" (40), "Merits of Monarchy " (35), "Choosing an England Soccer XI" (46), an impromptu debate on the value of Homework (23), Discussion on a new magazine for children, Junior News' (34). In connection with this last meeting, all members of the lower School were issued with a free copy of the magazine and Mr. Levell, one of its Editors, and Mr. Thornton, Circulation Manager, were present at the meeting to hear the suggestions and criticisms.
The Committee that has been responsible for arranging this programme consists of J. Birks (Sec.), R. Hale, D. Ashtan, R. Marks, P. Frost and K. Long.

Text size