St Peter's 13-18
St Peter’s Debating Society sees pupils tackle topical, controversial and sometimes satirical topics to develop their research, debating and public speaking skills.
The main focus of this afternoon club is skills building. In addition to the Teacher in Charge, sessions are run by a university coach. This year we have prepared for the ESU Mace (reaching round two), and the Oxford Schools’ Debating Competition, where we reached the Oxford finals day. Special training evenings are also offered to pupils in this club. Neighbouring schools are invited as well as university debaters who offer specialist training and judging feedback.
Senior Debating Society
This is the largest of the oracy societies. Weekly debates run in the Extended Mace format with audiences of 50-70 pupils. Special events occur each half term. 2019 examples include- a-level subject balloon debate, backwards debate, Valentine’s Just a Minute, STEM International Women’s Day Debate, Christmas Debate.
Junior Debating Society
Third, Fourth and Fifth Form pupils meet weekly for a round-table discussion group. They choose their own topics and have discussed issues such as: justice and the law, Brexit, capitalism, and multi-national corporations.
House Debating Senior and Junior
Ten houses compete in both levels of this competition. At least 80 pupils will prepare and present speeches in a hotly contested activity.
Public Speaking Club
The Public Speaking Club runs after school in parallel with Competitive Debating. Set up primarily to teach pupils the ESU Churchill style, pupils also competed in the York Civic Trust speaking competition.
Dramatic Reading Competitions
Run in conjunction with the English department, each year pupils in the Third and Fourth Form are invited to present a short passage from their favourite prose fiction text in a school-wide competition.
Public Speaking Competition Senior and Junior
The yearly Senior and Junior Public Speaking competitions allow pupils to present subjects of their own choice to an audience of their peers.
To celebrate all of the school’s oracy activities, we hold an annual dinner. 90 people attended in 2019 and heard pupil and staff speeches on the motion “This house believes that romance is dead” as well as awards, prizes and quizzes.
New for 2019 is the OP debate where Old Peterites are invited to speak against current Upper Sixth speakers in a fun debate with plenty of audience interaction!
ISSP Debate Club
This club, which started in January of 2019, is comprised of Third and Fourth Form pupils from ten local schools. The club is run by our school’s Teacher in Charge and the President of the York University Debating Society. Pupils are taught skills, have their own VLE resources page and engage in debates. We also aim to run a festival of debate in conjunction with York University for the ISSP Debate Club and local schools outside of the ISSP.
Hosting and debating with other schools
We have continued to try to make entering competitions as easy as possible for neighbouring schools. In the 2018-2019 school year, we hosted round one of the ESU Mace, round one of the ESU Churchill, the Oxford Schools’ workshop evening and the Oxford Schools’ regional round where we welcomed over 200 people. In addition to this we have established fixtures with a range of local schools, most notably the yearly Alcuin Debate against Ampleforth College.