SENIOR DEBATING AND DISCUSSION SOCIETY 1952
At the first meeting of the year, held in September last, T.J.Cann was elected secretary with A.J.Knock, I. Glogowsky, W.H.Walker and D.M.Laugharne to serve with him on the committee.
Since the last issue of the Monovian the Society's meeting-place has again been changed and we are now back in the lecture-room. We had a strenuous programme in the autumn term, including a debate with Walthamstow County High School on "It is better to know more and more about less and less, than less and less about more and more"; and one with Woodford County High School, the motion being "That a split in a political party is a sign of life." One outside speaker, Mr. R. Lamb, was secured towards the end of the term and he gave a very interesting and informative talk on "The Soviet Union today."
This year, unfortunately, membership has been declining (except of course for inter-school meetings) but we hope by means of advertising and adding better attractions to our programme that the attendance will increase. By the time this edition of the magazine is printed there will have been debates with Leytonstone, Woodford, and Chingford County High Schools.
DEBATING AND DISCUSSION SOCIETY 1952
A new and attractive programme of events was accepted by a general meeting of the Society in January and subsequently put into force. At the same time the regular meeting-place was changed to the Geography Room, and it was agreed that refreshments should be provided before meetings if possible, and that boys should sometimes take the chair.
The term opened with a hat debate on such diverse subjects as the bravery of Captain Carlsen, boaters as part of the School uniform, and the controversial topic of "Guns or dentures." The motion, "That the boys of to-day are ignorant, ill-mannered and apathetic," was discussed at a debate of Staff against boys. The Society provided the three finalists for the new Lecture Competition; C.E.B.Steers subsequently won the senior prize presented by Mr. Allpass.
Two outside speakers were secured during the first half of the year. Ald. E.C.Redhead, J.P., gave a provocative talk to a regrettably small audience on "What's wrong with the Borough Council ? " He complained of the apathy shown towards local government. On the 3rd March Mr.H.W.Wallace, M.P., conducted members of the society round the Houses of Parliament and gave an interesting and entertaining commentary. The following Monday Mr. Wallace came to Monoux to talk about "The customs and peculiarities of the House."
Three inter-school meetings were arranged and held at Monoux. The one with Woodford County High School took the form of a discussion on "The place of democracy in modern schools." In contrast there was a formal debate with Leyton County High School for Girls, the motion being "That marriage should be the goal of every man and woman." The School team won a Current Affairs quiz against Walthamstow High School. To close the season there was a general discussion with the party from Germany about "The best characteristics of our two nations" in which both sides learned much in spite of the language difficulty.
JUNIOR DEBATING AND DISCUSSION SOCIETY 1952
This Society was formed at the beginning of the autumn term in response to the need for more junior activities. The group has met very regularly at 4.15 on Fridays in the Geography Room.
The programmes are arranged by a committee consisting of two members from each of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Forms. The present members are: T.Laugharne, A.E.Steel, D.McGolgan (secretary), D.Wilson, D.F.Lamb, and P.K.Birks under the chairmanship of Mr. P.S.Couch.
There have been many discussions on such varied topics as "School holidays," "Holiday camps," and "School punishments," and debates on such subjects as "That conduct and behaviour during School dinners is deplorable," and "That the introduction of commercial radio in Great Britain would raise the standard of broadcasting."
One of the most successful meetings took the form of a Political Balloon Debate in which Mr.Eden, Mr.Pollitt, Mr.Attlee and Mr.Clement Davies were fellow passengers in a somewhat damaged balloon. After the March Election a joint meeting of the Junior and Senior Debating Societies took the form of a mock Parliament at which after a stormy debate the House approved the Second Reading of "The Iron and Steel Denationalisation Bill, 1951."
At another very successful meeting R.Tacagni introduced a discussion on the School Council. Whether or not the suggestions made at meetings such as this are accepted is of comparatively small importance. What is important is that many boys have an opportunity of speaking, and judging by the numbers attending the meetings this is a very popular Society.
We are very grateful to Mr. Bence, Mr. Wood and Mr. Couch who have acted as chairmen at our meetings.
The Society had a very successful term, as was indicated by the exceptionally large attendances, which followed an intensive publicity campaign. This campaign drew much support from the First-formers
who now make up a very large percentage of the Society as a whole. We are getting attendances of well over thirty boys nearly every week, easily the highest since the Society's inauguration in 1951.
One of the most enjoyable meetings of the term was when we invited the J.D.D.S. of Walthamstow County High School to join us in a quiz. The visitors won narrowly by 31 to 29 points. Other topics in lighter vein discussed early in the term were "Britain's Performance in the Olympic: Games," and "The B.B.C. and its suggested Autumn Programmes."
To celebrate Christmas, the Society held its own version of "One Minute, Please!" which was preceded by a very good tea. This meeting was especially enjoyable because everybody was able to take part.
To cater for all tastes, the Society has, of course, to hold meetings of a rather more serious type. As an example of these mention may be made of a very topical debate that was held in late Autumn last term on the motion, "Corporal Punishment should be reintroduced in cases of Crimes of Violence." The Society was divided on this problem but in the voting the motion was passed by a very narrow margin. It seems that there are many budding politicians in the Lower School and everyone enjoys a good argument. The best political debate held last term was on the motion, "This House believe, that the Denationalisation of Road Transport is undesirable at present." The motion was carried by a very large majority.
Another memorable meeting was when we had a discussion on the Bulletin, the editors of that fabulous weekly news sheet being present to give their views and explain policy. Members provided them with a number of useful ideas. One of the most heated debates was on the "Colour Bar."
The Society as a whole is very grateful to Messrs. Bence and Couch who have kept control so ably at the meetings.
Inter Schools discussion group
For the last two terms the I.S.D.G. has met regularly every fortnight. Apart from Buckhurst Hill, Loughton Girls', and Ilford Girls', every school in the group has held at least one meeting. This in itself is a great improvement over the first term of the year when four schools were forced to share complete responsibility for all the meetings. Chingford County High School now attend and have proved a valuable source of new speakers.
Indeed, our last meeting at the time of going to press was at Chingford. It was especially interesting because we entertained the German boys and girls staying in the district. For the occasion we discussed Western Union, a subject on which both nationalities were fairly fluent. It was both interesting and unusual to hear the differing views of the English and German youths, but it was surprising to how great an extent we agreed on matters of policy and principle.
Most of our meetings have been of a uniformly high standard; only twice have they fallen very far below it. On both occasions we suffered by having boys in the chair, their capacity for chairmanship not being great. This serves to show how important adult chairmen are to our meetings, and thanks are, therefore, once again due to all those masters and mistresses who have helped us during the last two terms.
Finally, an invitation is extended to all members of the new fifth form to attend our coming meetings. I.S.D.G. is not just another School society catering for specialised tastes. Our meetings are not only entertaining ; they also offer great opportunities of meeting and making friends with people from other schools. This is perhaps the most important function any society can fulfil and I.S.D.G. does it admirably.