French debating Challenge Monday 25th November

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On Monday 25th November, Ratcliffe hosted an inter-schools’ French debating competition.  Two teams of four battled it out with students from Repton School, Nottingham High School for Girls, Nottingham Boys’ High School, Groby College, Birkdale and Trent College.

Ratcliffe students Erin Hughes, Bethan Lawrence, Jenny Hall and Henry Mellors, delivered their opposing arguments to the motion “Cette chambre est d’avis que l’âge de la majorité électorale devrait être abaissé à seize ans”  (“This house believes that the voting age should be lowered to 16)” with sharp wit, clarity and humour, to win their first debate against Trent College.

A further Ratcliffe team comprising Omar Khan, Olivia Thompson, Annabelle Tomlinson and Charlotte Perfect, were cool and composed in their debate against Nottingham High School for Boys, proposing the motion that “Cette Chambre est d’avis que les écoles non-mixtes sont bénéfiques à l’éducation” (“This house believes that single-sex schools are beneficial to education”), losing by only a few points.

The teams then had just 15 minutes to prepare their second debate – no easy task, considering that in a recent survey, most people said they would rather die than speak in public, let alone in French!

Team 1 kept their composure and had the audience laughing with their arguments for the proposition that “l’intelligence est plus important que la beauté”, but unfortunately lost out to the overall winners, Repton School.

A talk from Emma McClarkin, MEP for the East Midlands, on the importance of international communication, gave our students insight into the vast number of opportunities available to language graduates, who are in great demand in the European Parliament.  This was followed by a talk from Sally Fagan, from Business Language Champions, on public speaking skills, which our students were able to put into practice in their second debates in the afternoon.

Special congratulations go to Erin Hughes, who was voted “outstanding speaker”, which was well-deserved and a timely 18th birthday present!  Also, a huge well done to all the Ratcliffe students for debating so skillfully in French and doing what most people fear the most!  We are all very proud of you!

Sui Cushing,

Head of Languages.